Four Tampa Bay Rays players were among those who allegedly received threats of violence and decapitation from a gambler last season.
Four Tampa Bay Rays players were allegedly just some of the recipients of hundreds of threatening messages being sent by the accused, Benjamin Tucker Patz, 23, last season.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa is charging Patz with transmitting threats in interstate or foreign commerce.
Patz had recently won more than $1 million betting on sports and is known by his alias, “Parlay Patz.” He sent violent and threatening messages to four players on the Tampa Bay Rays following a loss to the Chicago White Sox on July 20, 2019.
He used anonymous Instagram accounts to send direct messages to athletes around the country. Here are a few of the disturbing messages that were sent to the Rays’ players, as revealed in the official court documents.
"“I will enter your home while you sleep…And sever your neck open…I will kill your entire family…Everyone you love will soon cease…I will cut up your family…Dismember the[m] alive”“Your family’s necks will be severed open with a dull knife! … Your family will die!”“Unfortunately 0-5 against the Chicago White Sox isn’t going to cut it. Because of your sins, I will have to behead you and your family”“Your family will be beheaded.”"
Court documents reveal that Patz sent hundreds of similar messages threatening the lives of players and their families. He messaged players on the Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, and the Atlanta Braves. These are in addition to the reports of his threats to several Rays players and one White Sox player.
Patz also sent threats to New England Patriots players, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski after they defeated the Rams in Super Bowl LIII.
The Rays issued the following statement:
"“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.”"
Authorities were able to trace the accounts back to Benjamin Tucker Patz. He is facing a maximum of five years in prison.
Remember, Patz is innocent until proven guilty. Hopefully, he’s a 23-year-old who won some money and made some terrible decisions online. Of course, sending over two hundred threatening messages raises so many alarms.