Spain field hockey player receives death threats for comments about Spain

Spain's Alex Fabregas during a game last Monday. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)

Catalan field hockey -- or as it's referred to solely for the Summer Games: hockey -- player Alex Fabregas told Spanish news site that's he's received death threats for his statements about playing for Spain at the Olympics.

The online remarks directed at Fabregas stem from the fact he's been openly inhibited about being part of Spain's field hockey team, when he is in fact not, in totality, Spanish.

He's Catalan.

So this has caused some stirring among the diehard field hockey fans in Spain. Or at least the jingoes who blindly and angrily go full bore in support of their country for all things international sport.

The Guardian translated the report and passed it along Tuesday.

Fabregas told the newspaper Ara: "I play in the Spanish team because there's no other team I can play with, I have no other choice. I feel Catalan. I do not feel the same way listening to the Spanish anthem as I do listening to Els Segadors."

He added: "I enjoy playing in the team for myself, for my peers and for the people who come to see me. But at no point do I feel I am playing for Spain."

This led to more-reasonable fans merely calling for Fabregas to be taken off the national team, instead of, you know, outright killing him. Here's to wishing neither will happen. Most of the harassment was directed as Fabregas' Twitter account, which had to be taken down due to the latest example of fan cyber bullying. Last week, a teen was arrested after tweeting harassing and downright mean messages to a British diver.

Fabregas is one of the team's best players, so his statements have come with some impact more than if others had said it. Spain's field hockey team played Great Britain Tuesday to a 1-1 draw. Surprisingly, though, all but two players on Spain's team are Catalan, meaning Fabregas is most likely not alone in his feelings. 

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. He's in his seventh season covering college basketball for CBS, and also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics and... Full Bio

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