EAGAN, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings tailback Alexander Mattison said he hopes social media platforms will find better ways to make users accountable after he was subjected to more than 60 "disgustingly disrespectful" messages -- including some with racial slurs -- after last week's loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
"I'm trying to move past it," Mattison said. "But it is something that I feel like the platform should make it, some type of way, where these people making these profiles have to provide some kind of information. You shouldn't be walking around doing stuff like this and be able to hide behind that. Maybe you're in a position where you have a career where you're interacting with people. You shouldn't be able to interact with people [like that] without going through some type of repercussions and growth after making statements like that."
Mattison described the intense hours last week leading up to his decision to go public after Thursday night's game. It began, he said, during warmups late Thursday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field. According to Mattison, a fan in the stands yelled that he hoped Mattison would tear his ACL during the game. Mattison looked up and saw the fan making a twisting motion with his hands.
Mattison began reading messages and comments on Instagram after he had rushed for 28 yards and lost a fumble during the Vikings' loss. He spoke about them for a while with veteran fullback C.J. Ham before deciding to post two of them on his Instagram story. Both messages called on him to commit suicide.
"It was something that came full circle in a moment of where I just kind of snapped in my head," Mattison said. "... It was one of those situations where I realized that I've been able to find my voice over the past few years with a lot of different issues and a lot of different things going through my own mental health journey. And understanding that there are a lot of people out there that either are dealing with worse or dealing with something similar that may not have found their voice yet.
"To be able to do that was really the main reason 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. This isn't a fantasy. This is real life. ...
"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."