Kent Harvey and his two brothers have been threatened by e-mail and telephone since their confrontation Thursday with the basketball coach, their stepfather, Mark Shaw, said.
Protesters burned Harvey in effigy Sunday outside the home of university president Myles Brand. Others gave out fliers on the Bloomington campus showing a picture of Harvey with the message: "Wanted: Dead."
Shaw said all three teens were on campus Sunday and wanted to stay at the school. University officials have said they would do whatever they could to ensure they are safe.
"They don't have anything to hide from. They told the truth," Shaw said.
Knight, already in trouble for a history of misconduct, was fired Sunday for a "pattern of unacceptable behavior." Knight had been under a "zero-tolerance" policy that bars "inappropriate" physical contact with students.
Harvey got a taste of Knight's temper when he, his two brothers
Kyle and Kevin Harvey and two friends were at Assembly Hall on campus in Bloomington to pick up football tickets. Kent Harvey and Knight passed each other at a doorway.
Kent Harvey greeted Knight with, "Hey, what's up, Knight?" That prompted Knight to grab his arm and admonish him.
"I said, 'Son, my name is not Knight to you," Knight said Friday. "It's Coach Knight or it's Mr. Knight. I don't call people by their last name, and neither should you'"
Shaw, a former Bloomington-area radio talk show host and Knight critic, complained to the university. He said he and his stepsons expected only an apology.
"That's all we were after," Shaw said.
The Harvey brothers aren't the first of Knight's critics to feel the wrath of the coach's supporters. Death threats drove English professor Murray Sperber to take leave for a year in his hometown of Montreal.
Sperber had criticized both Knight and the university's handling of the coach earlier this year during an investigation into accusations that Knight choked former player Neil Reed during a 1997 practice.
More than 160 Indiana University professors called on Brand to take a stronger stand in support of free speech and academic freedom after Sperber left campus.
Sperber had planned to return to Indiana in January, but not to teach. Now that Knight has been fired, he hopes to resume teaching, he said Sunday.
"No person, a coach or anyone else, is bigger than the university," Sperber told The Associated Press. "And finally the trustees are biting the bullet on this and putting the good of the institution ahead of a basketball coach.
"I look forward to the day when I see Indiana University in the news about an educational endeavor, a great school of music, or business, r something. It's long overdue, very long overdue, frankly."
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