Russell Okung, a National Football League offensive linemen for the Carolina Panthers, announced that he is being paid in Bitcoin (BTC).
On Dec. 29, Okung tweeted simply “Paid in Bitcoin” in answer to his mid-May 2019 tweet which asked:
“Pay me in Bitcoin.”
Okung is not the only NFL player who aimed to get his pay in Bitcoin. The NFL announced in May 2019 that Buffalo Bills backup quarterback Matt Barkley asked his previous teams—the 49ers and Bengals—to get a contract that paid him in Bitcoin, but both the teams declined.
According to a Dec. 30 CNBC report, Okung is not directly paid in Bitcoin by the management of the Carolina Panthers. Instead, about $6.5 million of his $13 million salary is routed through mobile payments firm Strike and then converted to Bitcoin. The player said in a statement quoted in the report:
“Money is more than currency; it’s power. […] The way money is handled from creation to dissemination is part of that power. Getting paid in Bitcoin is the first step of opting out of the corrupt, manipulated economy we all inhabit.”
The NFL and its players’ union just learned of the agreement which was handled internally by the Carolina Panthers, but did not attempt to void it or officially sign off on the agreement. An NFL spokesperson told CNBC via email that “there wasn’t anything to sign off on. The clubs pay the players in U.S. dollars. What the players or his agents do with the money is up to them.”
Okung is not the first sports star who is actively promoting public awareness of Bitcoin. As Modern Consensus reported in late October, National Basketball Association star Tracy Mcgrady has joined the board of a cryptocurrency broker as an advisor and noted that he is passionate about financial education.
Earlier this month the same broker—Voyager Digital —also recruited NFL Hall of Fame star Marshall Faulk as an advisor who is tasked with “educating investors” about the crypto brokerage service.