Alexander Mattison opened Instagram in the hours that followed Thursday night’s game between the Vikings and Eagles in Philadelphia.
The racism waiting for him in his inbox after his performance was horrifying.
To bring light to the situation, Mattison posted a couple of screenshots on Instagram showing direct messages he had received. Both included racial slurs as well as calls for him to commit suicide.
“This (expletive) is unacceptable,” Mattison wrote in Friday morning’s Instagram post while noting that he received more than 60 direct messages in total. “Under my helmet, I am a human, a father, a son.”
The messages came after the Vikings suffered a 34-28 loss during which Mattison rushed for 28 yards.
“I know this is not an isolated incident from last night for Alex,” head coach Kevin O’Connell said while condemning the racist messages. “It’s just unacceptable in any way, shape or form in our society.”
The Vikings issued a statement in support of Mattison:
“We are sickened by the hatred and racial slurs directed toward Alexander Mattison following last night’s game. There simply is no room for racist words or actions in sports or society. The Vikings will continue to fight to eliminate hate, to educate and to foster a diverse, equitable and inclusive community that respects and values our unique backgrounds. We stand with Alexander and all players who, unfortunately, experience this type of ignorant and prejudicial behavior, and we ask our fans to continue to fight to eliminate racism.”
The NFL also issued a statement on the website formerly known as Twitter:
“The NFL strongly condemns the racist comments directed toward Alexander Mattison online after last night’s game. Such hateful behavior is completely unacceptable in the NFL or anywhere else. We stand firmly with Alexander and remind fans to remember the humanity of all players and celebrate their contributions to the game we all love.”