After taking to Twitter to air a series of complaints alleging his former Illinois football coach mistreated him physically and emotionally, Simon Cvijanovic said he hasn't felt comfortable stepping back on campus since he graduated in 2015.

He struggled to find teammates who would support him publicly and some castigated him.

"The situation I was in, I had already been slotted (as) a quitter," Cvijanovic, 24, said on Thursday. "It was hard for (teammates) to respect my opinion. It was hard for them to respect what I was saying. A lot of players said, 'Sorry, Simon, it's my senior year. Sorry, Simon, I have a scholarship here. Sorry, Simon, I'm not really sure if what you're saying is true.'"

Such is the sacrifice of being a whistle blower. Enemies are made. Blame is cast. Loyalties become divided.

Cvijanovic's claims launched an investigation that affirmed his allegations against former coach Tim Beckman, whom Cvijanovic said forced him to play through knee and shoulder injuries. As a result, Beckman was fired and former athletic director Mike Thomas departed in the wake of the fallout.