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Understanding NFL Player Russell Okung’s Confusing Bitcoin Salary Story

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Crypto enthusiasts are always searching for ways to get their hands on Bitcoin, especially with the asset amid a historic rally. Russell Okung, an NFL player, has finally made progress with his request to get paid in the leading cryptocurrency.

NFL Player Converts Half His Salary Into Bitcoin

Earlier this week, Okung, who plays as an offensive lineman for the Carolina Panthers, announced on Twitter that he had fulfilled his desire to be paid in Bitcoin. Okung has been a Bitcoin enthusiast for a while now, and he first made his desire to be paid in Bitcoin known last May. As his tweet showed, the Panthers finally acquiesced to his requests.

Additional reports revealed that Okung was not paid his full salary in full. Spotrac reports that the offensive lineman, who makes $13.25 million a year, was only paid half of that in Bitcoin. Even at that, $6 million in Bitcoin looks like a sizable earning.

Since the news became public, Okung has been on a Bitcoin promotion spree. The athlete’s Twitter account is filled with pro-Bitcoin sentiment. Among other things, Okung has claimed that he has freed himself from fiat and that the next decade will see more rapid Bitcoin adoption. This is one athlete that isn’t messing around.

Still, while reports appear to believe that the Panthers paid Okung in Bitcoin directly, there seems to be some inaccuracy.

Yesterday The Verge contradicted the reports, explaining that Okung merely converted his salary into Bitcoin from fiat. Citing a spokesperson for the NFL, the news source said that Okung’s people had essentially made the conversion after he was paid in dollars like every other player.

The Panthers confirmed to the news source that all players were paid in dollars. Essentially, the right headlines should have been “NFL player converts half his salary to Bitcoin,” as opposed to “NFL player gets paid in Bitcoin.”

The Verge also posits that Okung has some incentive to have made such a fuss about his move. The offensive lineman reportedly made his purchase using Zap, a crypto payment processor. Still, it is unclear if he has a stake in Zap or is just pumping Bitcoin for the sake of it.

Crypto and Sports Leagues

Whether or not there is an ulterior motive behind the Bitcoin pump, Okung’s purchase remains a milestone moment for Bitcoin and sports.

Through the five top professional leagues (the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, and MLS), only a handful of players and teams have expressed an interest in dabbling with cryptocurrencies.

Last week, Mark Cuban, the billionaire, and owner of NBA franchise Dallas Mavericks, took to Twitter to promote his team’s Bitcoin merch discount, which reportedly provides a 25 percent haircut on items bought using Bitcoin.

Then, in January, Spencer Dinwiddie, a point guard for the NBAS’ Brooklyn Nets, announced Dream Fan Shares, a tokenized bond, based on his three-year, $34.4 million contract with the team. The bond allows Dinwiddie to sell 90 SD8 tokens to accredited investors, with each token priced at $150,000.

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