The Florida Panthers defenseman told The Athletic's George Richards that he has been a target for death threats and other online harassment in the wake of Saturday's incident, for which Matheson was suspended two games Monday.
His Instagram account, and particularly this post featuring his dog, Hank, was one such venue for hateful, obscene comments from those upset with Saturday's hit.
“I’m trying to stay off it, but it has been very, very disappointing,” Matheson told Richards. “To think that people could be so inhumane about something … sports were made to bring people together, to cheer on teams and have passion about their teams. I fully understand and respect that.
“But there are thousands of people commenting things on my social-media pages — sending me death threats, wishing I would commit suicide or get cancer — that’s bringing things to a whole new level. People have even threatened my dog. If you’re going that far, you might want to look yourself in the mirror. I’m not going to engage in it. It’s definitely not worth it. I know not all Vancouver fans are like that. I’m sure it’s a very small percentage of hockey fans who are doing this."