Shaun Murphy received death threats over controversial UK Championship remarks

John Higgins reacts to Players Championship Snooker victory

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Snooker star Shaun Murphy received death threats online – and even abuse in public – following his controversial comments regarding amateurs playing in the UK Championship. The 39-year-old was dumped out of the UK Championship in the first round by China’s Si Jiahui after suffering a 6-5 defeat at the York Barbican back in November.

Murphy was furious with the decision to allow amateurs to play at tournaments, insisting Si should never have been allowed to play. 

Murphy unleashed a tirade of frustration at the decision to allow amateurs after his defeat, telling BBC Radio 5 Live: “He played like a man who does not have a care in the world, because he does not have a care in the world. It is not fair, it is not right.

“I am not picking on him as a young man, he deserved his victory. Amateurs should not be allowed in professional tournaments, the end.

“Since turning professional at 15, I have earned the right to call myself a professional snooker player. He hasn’t done that. He shouldn’t be on the table.”

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The fallout from Murphy’s comments was massive, with most bar a few players fiercely opposed to Murphy’s unromantic view.

The 2005 world champion was shocked by the outrage, and told Metro.co.uk: “I couldn’t believe it. 

“Who knew that so many people outside the world of snooker had any interest in how the tour was made up and who got invites into certain tournaments? 

“I was baffled by the level of interest that story took.”

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Murphy was particularly confused by the sinister reaction to his comments and the Magician revealed people even sent him death threats following the UK Championship.  

“It was a storm in a teacup, but it felt like the teacup was quite big,” he said. “It felt more like a mug and I felt a bit of a mug.

“I spent the first 24 hours locked in my hotel room fending off calls from all the news outlets. I was thinking, ‘Wow, this story’s gone big, this is ridiculous.’ 

“I didn’t say it to generate interest, it wasn’t a line, it wasn’t clickbait, it’s something I felt genuinely about and I couldn’t believe how mad it went.

“I got a few death threats on social media, people messaging me all sorts of vile stuff. It was not an experience I’d like to repeat, I have to say. 

“I didn’t think what I said was that bad.”

Murphy admitted he apologised to Si, but stuck by his comments on amateur appearances in professional events as it is a view he has held for years. 

He also claimed no-one has disagreed with his view in person, suggesting that most of the poor reaction to his comments have come from trolls online.

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