NFL Pro Bowler Russell Okung Plugs Bitcoin in Locker Room

May 30, 2019 2:30 PM UTC
Author: Mike LaVere

By CCN: Bitcoin has managed to gain the support of an ally on one of America’s most televised platforms. Russell Okung, a two-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl Champion, has become one of the most vocal advocates for bitcoin and digital currencies. 

Okung is one of several high-profile athletes pushing to be paid in bitcoin. While other sectors, particularly tech, have seen an uptick in workers paid with crypto, the vast majority of industries have lagged behind.

Earlier in May, Okung threw down the gauntlet to NFL owners and demanded to be paid in bitcoin. Despite his request falling on deaf ears, Okung has turned to a hands-on approach in supporting crypto, repping the bitcoin logo on his locker. In a tweet published on May 29, the Chargers’ star Right Tackle – who refers to himself as the ‘Chief Blocking Officer’ of bitcoin–showed how he will be spreading the word on BTC in the upcoming season:

Players are interviewed by media members at their lockers after games and practice, giving the ‘BTC’ and ‘Minebitcoin’ logo substantial coverage in front of America’s largest sports-watching audience. In 2018, the NFL averaged 15.7 million viewers, up 5% from the year before – at a time when television ratings are hitting an all-time low. Bottom line: Russell Okung is set to represent bitcoin on one of the largest platforms crypto supporters could hope for.

Paving the Way for BTC Paychecks

Okung is not alone amongst NFL players vying for paychecks in bitcoin. In May, Morgan Creek Digital Co-Founder Anthony Pompliano revealed that Matt Barkley, quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, had asked the NFL to be paid in crypto.

Barkley showed support for the crypto industry, taking to Twitter to explain that he mines coins and understands the process.

Okung and Barkley are showing the impact of athletes and high-profile influencers on spreading support for crypto. As opposed to using bitcoin for quick-riches, these million-dollar athletes have put their reputations on the line by publicly asking to be paid in crypto.

Which begs the question: when will the average worker do the same?

Established cryptocurrency platforms have done their part to set the trend and more freelancers are turning to digital currency payments. Last week, Kraken, a popular crypto-trading exchange, fired back at bitcoin-hater Peter Schiff who claimed there was ‘no way’ the average person would work for a salary paid in bitcoin.

Contrary to Schiff’s position, Kraken reported paying 250 employees bitcoin for the month of April, and that more employees are asking for their salaries in crypto. 

Bitcoin-based earnings have been a controversial subject for the industry. On one hand, supporters applaud the increased adoption and skin-in-the-game approach of receiving BTC paychecks. Meanwhile, price volatility thus far has been a deterrent but may subside as bitcoin enters the making of another bull market.

This article was edited by Gerelyn Terzo for If you see a breach of our Code of Ethics or Rights and Duties of the Editor, or find a factual, spelling, or grammar error, please contact us and we will look at it as soon as possible.

Last modified: June 14, 2020 11:17 AM UTC

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Mike LaVere

Mike is a US-based financial and cryptocurrency journalist for CCN. Alum of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Currently completing his M.D. degree and pursuing a career in surgery. | Contact at

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