The NFL, the Vikings and fellow players all spoke out in support of Mattison this week
Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison is opening up about dozens and dozens of “unacceptable” messages he received after a recent NFL game, many containing racist and violent language.
“Y’all can come at me all you want about fantasy and ‘you suck’ blah blah blah,” Mattison, 25, wrote in an Instagram post after his team’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night. “I really could care less. But this s--- is unacceptable. … Really reflect on WTF you say and how it could affect someone. Under the helmet, I am a human.. a father.. a son. This is sick.”
The Vikings star shared two screenshots of messages he had received after the game. The screenshots, which are now deleted, both included racial slurs and told Mattison to take his own life, according to CNN.
A number of NFL players voiced their support for Mattison and said they similarly receive derogatory messages each week. The NFL and the Vikings also both released statements in support of Mattison.
“We are sickened by the hatred and racial slurs directed toward Alexander Mattison following last night’s game,” the Vikings said in their statement. “There simply is no room for racist words or actions in sports or society.”
The NFL said it would “stand firmly with Alexander and remind fans to remember the humanity of all players and celebrate their contributions to the game we all love.”
On Sunday, Mattison released a lengthy statement opening up about the experience of speaking out against the messages he and other players say they often receive.
"We are real people under the helmet - men, sons, husbands and brothers,” Mattison said. “We should not be dehumanized, nor should our identities or ethnicities be attacked for our play on the field. No athlete deserves to be harassed, disrespected and threatened.”
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Mattison vowed to continue advocating for players’ mental health and “emotional safety” going forward.
“I will continue to spread love and positivity, and shine as much light as I can in this world,” Mattison said. “Social media has given us great access and proximity to the fans – but it has also opened up a window for bullying and harassment, which cannot be tolerated.”
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