The Internet knows no bounds.
The mother of Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, Sammy Toa-Schuster, posted on Instagram on Sunday that she’s received death threats recently. The post didn’t specify why, but Smith-Schuster has been under a lot of heat for TikTok dances on opposing logos during the Steelers’ three-game losing streak.
“After weeks of so many hate messages to death threats … I can’t help but cry when my baby scored his TD,” Toa-Schuster wrote. “Y’all love him when we winning but hate when we are losing.”
Recently, Smith-Schuster danced on the Bills’ midfield logo in Week 14 and then the Bengals midfield logo in Week 15, posting both videos to his TikTok account with millions of followers. After Pittsburgh lost to both those teams, the opponents alluded to Smith-Schuster’s dancing as added motivation to beat the Steelers.
The three-game skid coincided with underwhelming production from Smith-Schuster, who despite catching 16 passes across the three games totaled only 98 yards. Pittsburgh’s receiving corps as a whole received criticism for heavy drop totals through those losses to Washington, Buffalo and Cincinnati, as well.
Pittsburgh bounced back in a big way Sunday in Week 16, coming back from 17 points down in the second half to beat the Colts. Smith-Schuster caught nine passes for 96 yards and a touchdown, which his mother mentioned in her Instagram post. That win claimed the AFC North division title for the Steelers.
The love in good times, hate in bad times mantra by Smith-Schuster’s mother is very accurate for many sports fans, but it should never escalate to death threats. NBA guard Danny Green and his future wife received some during the NBA playoffs. Packers receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling did, too, after a fumble earlier this season.
Here’s an idea: Don’t send people death threats, period, including to professional athletes’ mothers.