New York City man Benjamin Tucker Patz is accused of sending "hundreds of threatening messages to professional and college athletes, including members of the Tampa Bay Rays," according to the Tampa Bay Times' Dan Sullivan.
Patz reportedly faces federal charges of transmitting threats in interstate and foreign commerce, per Sullivan. The threats were reportedly investigated by the FBI in 2019.
Four Rays players received threatening Instagram messages after a loss to the White Sox on July 20, according to Sullivan. An investigation showed that "more than 300 other accounts had been targeted with threatening and explicit messages," including texts to players on the Braves, Nationals and Royals.
"Unfortunately 0–5 against the Chicago White Sox isn’t going to cut it,” Patz wrote in one message obtained by Sullivan. “Because of your sins, I will have to behead you and your family.”
Patz turned himself in on Thursday and will appear in federal court for an initial hearing, per The Action Network's Darren Rovell.
The Rays released a statement on the threats on Thursday.
“The safety of our players and staff is paramount and all threats are taken seriously. During the 2019 season, a Rays player notified club officials of threats he received on social media," Tampa Bay said. "The Rays brought the issue to the Clearwater resident office of the FBI, and their agents initiated an investigation that subsequently identified three additional Rays players who had been threatened. The Rays and the players involved are cooperating with the FBI as the legal process continues.”