The NFL and Minnesota Vikings have condemned attacks targeted at running back Alexander Mattison as racist and “hateful behavior,” after the player performed poorly in Thursday’s game.

Mattison, who is Black, ran for 25 yards and then fumbled in a close game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The performance brought him a mass of criticism online.

“I hope the 60+ people who decided to come at me with disgustingly disrespectful messages tonight in DMs and comments really reflect on WTF you say and how it could truly affect someone under my helmet,” Mattison wrote in an Instagram Story post after the game. “I am a human, a father, a son. This is sick.”

The post included a screenshot of one unsolicited Instagram message.

“Such hateful behavior is completely unacceptable in the NFL or anywhere else,” the NFL said in a statement posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “We stand firmly with Alexander and remind fans to remember the humanity of all players and celebrate their contributions to the game we all love.”

The Vikings said the team is “sickened” by the hateful language and slurs directed at Mattison.

“There is simply no room for racist words or actions in sports or society,” the team wrote. “We stand with Alexander and all players who, unfortunately, experience this type of ignorant and prejudicial behavior, and we ask out fans to continue the fight to eliminate racism.”

Mattison is in his fifth NFL season, all with the Vikings. This season marks his first as a starter, replacing star running back Dalvin Cook. Cook was released by the team during the offseason.

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