The next time you open a DM, consider the repercussions. One message has the power to inspire incredible change. In fact, Roger Goodell finally said ‘Black Lives Matter’ all because one of his own NFL players answered a DM. For Michael Thomas, responding to a rogue NFL employee’s message set off an incredible chain of events.
Eventually, that culminated in Goodell sending a powerful message that may alter the landscape of the NFL—and the world at large—forever.
Michael Thomas received an interesting DM from a rogue NFL employee
As a star wideout for the New Orleans Saints, it’s safe to say Michael Thomas probably receives a ton of DMs on a daily basis. While fans and haters may flood his inbox, the three-time Pro Bowler ended up changing the landscape of the NFL by opening a particularly intriguing one.
According to Henry Bushnell of Yahoo Sports, Thomas received an Instagram DM from a rogue NFL employee named Bryndon Minter.
“Want to help you create content to be heard around the league. I’m a NFL social employee and am embarrassed by how the league has been silent this week. The NFL hasn’t condemned racism. The NFL hasn’t said that Black Lives Matter. I want [to] help you put the pressure on. And arm you with a video that expresses YOUR voice and [what] you want from the League. Give me a holler if you’re interested in working together, thanks bro!”
Thomas wrote back within 15 minutes. What started out as a shot in the dark by Minter transformed into a national story. Of course, Thomas did his part to make sure Minter’s mission came to fruition.
Patrick Mahomes, Ezekiel Elliott, and other NFL stars contributed to a powerful video
Even with his own quarterback drawing criticism for his insensitive comments, that didn’t stop Michael Thomas from stepping up. He also got help from Minter, who along with other NFL employees, had grown frustrated with the league’s lack of action surrounding the issue at hand.
The rogue NFL employee sent prompts to Thomas in an effort to get a real message out there. The Saints wideout reached out to friends around the NFL. Those friends just happened to include some of the league’s most recognizable stars. Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Odell Beckham Jr., and Saquon Barkley all sent videos.
Minter had to disclose his plan to his bosses. He even feared that he might get fired during his Zoom meeting with his superiors. Fortunately, that didn’t happen.
NFL execs chose to reckon with the final product rather than retaliate. Minter went back into his bunker, with Thomas working tirelessly to feed him roughly 100 clips from more than a dozen stars. Minter edited them into 71 seconds that could change the league for good.
With star power and a strong message, the video became a viral sensation. At the conclusion of the video, the players echoed their desire in unison.
“We will not be silenced. We assert our right to peacefully protest. It shouldn’t take this long to admit. So, on behalf of the National Football League, this is what we, the players, would like to hear you state: We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League, admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting. We, the National Football League, believe Black Lives Matter.”
Roger Goodell released his own video stating ‘Black Lives Matter’
By the time Roger Goodell hosted a company-wide town hall meeting via Zoom on Friday, the players’ video already had millions of views. Employees shared powerful, emotional stories. They asked tough questions. And according to Bushnell, Colin Kaepernick came up more than once. As the commissioner of the NFL, Goodell faced a monumental decision.
Ultimately, he went down to his basement to record a video of his own. And in doing so, he finally uttered the words that his players have longed to hear.
“We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all players to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe that black lives matter.”
Roger Goodell has made a number of bad decisions during his tenure. But he finally made the right move to acknowledge that black lives matter. Incredibly, a DM to Michael Thomas from one of Goodell’s own employees potentially changed the landscape of the NFL forever.