Russell Okung is prepping his team for the NFL season the best way he knows: by talking about bitcoin. The two-time pro-bowler tweeted out today that the first conversation of the San Diego Chargers training camp revolved around the flagship cryptocurrency.
First @NFL training camp conversation: Bitcoin. 🤷🏾♂️
— 🙏🏾 (@RussellOkung) July 24, 2019
The tweet kicked off an active thread that inspired some crypto mainstays to chime in. Anthony Pompliano, the co-founder of Morgan Creek Digital and incessant crypto bull, responded with fire emojis.
— Pomp 🌪 (@APompliano) July 24, 2019
Gemini, the cryptocurrency exchange owned by the Winklevoss Twins, responded with a moonshot emoji.
— Gemini (@Gemini) July 24, 2019
Bitcoin rewards site Lolli chimed in with their own words of encouragement.
saving sacks and stacking sats! 🔥
— Lolli 🍭 (@trylolli) July 24, 2019
One user tweeted that star running back Adrian Peterson should get in touch with Okung. According to a recent report by ESPN, Peterson is broke and behind on loans totaling millions of dollars.
— EL SULLY (@ELSULLY23) July 24, 2019
This isn’t the first time Russell Okung has riled up the crypto-sphere. In May, the left tackle tweeted out “Pay me in Bitcoin.” Buffalo Bills quarterback Matt Barkley also reportedly asked to be paid in bitcoin. With many NFL players ticked off about the size of the contracts for their NBA counterparts, bitcoin payment could be a way to shrink the gap.
Pay me in Bitcoin.
— 🙏🏾 (@RussellOkung) May 14, 2019
NFL Quarterback @MattBarkley tried to get the San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals to each pay his contracts in Bitcoin.
Neither would do it.
Matt is just one of many Bitcoiners that are playing in the NFL on Sundays 🔥🔥
— Pomp 🌪 (@APompliano) May 14, 2019
While the NFL has declined to pay anyone in bitcoin thus far, the league has been a surprising oasis for cryptocurrency activity. Litecoin recently announced that they’ve become the official cryptocurrency of the NFL team the Miami Dolphins. Fans will be able to buy 50/50 raffle tickets during home games using Litecoin or bitcoin.
We are excited to announce Litecoin as the Official Cryptocurrency of the Miami Dolphins! 🏈
— Litecoin Foundation (@LTCFoundation) July 11, 2019
In 2018, the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) purchased a minority stake in blockchain startup Sportscastr. Sportscastr owns FanChain, which is a platform that allows its members to provide content and live-streams and offers an alternative form of revenue. NFLPA vice president of business and legal affairs Casey Schwab explains,
“Because of the decentralized nature of the platform, anyone can get on it, players can get on it. NFL players are really interested in blockchain, in crypto…if a player calls me and asks ‘how do I get involved’ I’d suggest he go on SportsCastr and start generating tokens.”
With lobbyists like Russell Okung in tow, the NFL could become a trailblazer in mainstream acceptance. Okung followed up his training camp tweet with a question about how to convince other athletes to get on board.
If you needed to pitch Bitcoin to a professional athlete in one tweet, what would you say?
— 🙏🏾 (@RussellOkung) July 24, 2019
Many people responded with suggestions, from “F the man” to “Trump hates bitcoin.”
Your account balance is just an IOU
from your bank. 🏦
Your dollar bill is just an IOU
from your government. 🇺🇸
Your bitcoin address is
a guarantee, verified by YOU. 👈
Owning bitcoin is true financial freedom.
— Rhythm (@Rhythmtrader) July 24, 2019
But for a league that’s become increasingly tired of being under the control of rich owners, the above response by Rhythmtrader sums it up best.