Alexander Mattison said he intended to spread awareness of "something that happens way too much" when the Vikings running back posted a screenshot of a racist message he received after Thursday's loss in Philadelphia.
Speaking to reporters in the Vikings locker room on Monday, Mattison called out the online vitriol that often comes from unsatisfied sports bettors and fantasy football gamblers, and how that affects athletes and their families.
He also said social media platforms shouldn't allow people to "hide behind" anonymity.
"There are a lot of people out there dealing with worse or dealing with something similar," Mattison said. "To make sure that everyone understands — there's a lot of fantasy football people out there, and they think that it's all fun and games. We have families. we have people that love us, we have people that we're doing this for. It's not fantasy; this is real life."
Mattison twice mentioned fantasy football as a consistent theme to hateful remarks he and his teammates receive upon picking up their phones after a game. The Vikings' 0-2 start has come with a low-volume and low-efficiency run game.
"Because it's a frustrating loss that you're dealing with," Mattison said. "Then dealing with stuff like that in a moment where you're down — you know, kick me while I'm down."
Teammates, the Vikings and the NFL issued statements or remarks in support of Mattison, who initially said he received more than 60 "disgustingly disrespectful messages" after he fumbled in the loss to the Eagles.
Mattison said he's also felt the support.
"It means a lot, especially coming from my teammates, this organization, my family," Mattison said. "None of this was for attention. None of this was for pity. It was to bring awareness and bring to light something that happens way too much."