Earl Thomas flipped off his own bench after he broke his leg in a game between the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. The move might seem strange if you don’t know the background between the two parties, but with context it’s a pretty clear message to the management that doesn’t seem to want Thomas around after he plays out the string on his current contract.
He will likely be unable to play out that string now that he has a fractured leg. It was fear of injury that caused him to hold out in the first place, afraid that an injury in preseason or practice would limit his ability to get paid on the open market or possibly get traded to a team that would want to pay him. Seattle balked at trade offers that didn’t include a second-round pick for the talented safety, and now no one will get compensation of any kind for an injured player.
After the game, Bobby Wagner spoke in support of his teammate and tried to explain the difficulty Thomas has had in handling his public perception.
“If he doesn’t come, then he’s not a team player. If he does come and gets hurt, then it’s ‘he shouldn’t have came.’ Wagner said. “If I was him, I’d be pissed off.”
The aggregation of that comment has brought out even more support via Instagram. Not only did the ESPN post include the quote from Wagner supporting Thomas’ feelings about his injury and relationship with the Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers running back and fellow holdout Le’Veon Bell also offered his support on Instagram as well.