Russell Okung becomes first NFL player to get paid in Bitcoin

Illustration for article titled Russell Okung becomes first NFL player to get paid in Bitcoin

Carolina Panthers tackle Russell Okung will have his $13 million salary split this year. $6.5 million in U.S. currency, $6.5 million in crypto.

“Pay me in Bitcoin.” The 11-year NFL vet posted to twitter in May 2019. Well, today he was paid in Bitcoin. He will be the first NFL player to be paid via cryptocurrency.

Asked why he wasn’t paid 100 percent in the coin, he said his wife “isn’t fully on board yet.”

Neither are most of us, Russell. But the two-time Pro Bowler has been a Bitcoin advocate for years. His timeline is filled with BTC references and commentary.

And in 2019, he published a column for Coindesk where he called Bitcoin “digital gold” and spoke about being the “Bitcoin guy in the locker room.”

“My teammates are understandably curious about why I’m suddenly so into this ‘magic internet money’ called bitcoin,” he wrote in the opening paragraph. “The truth is, long before I tweeted ‘Pay Me in Bitcoin,’ I’d become increasingly exhausted by constant struggle, endless conflict and the frequent absence of hope.”

Apparently, Bitcoin is one of the things that gives Okung hope.

What I really want to know is how this direct deposit will go down. Let NFL network insider Ian Rappaport explain.

In 2018, Tyler Adkison left minor league baseball to start his own cryptocurrency hedge fund for athletes. Adkison’s Twitter bio, though, reads like he’s moved on from that job.

But we shouldn’t be surprised when the next athlete requests to be paid in Bitcoin, or whatever else is out there.

Russell Okung will be a free agent in the offseason. Maybe his next team will want to dish out some digital gold, too.

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