Safety Earl Thomas starred in one of the more iconic images from last year’s NFL campaign when he shot a middle finger toward his own sideline and head coach, Pete Carroll, while being carted off the field after breaking his leg. Now, months later, Thomas says he’s still glad he did it.
Thomas’s middle finger wasn’t all that hard to interpret in the moment. He had held out before the season, asking for a contract extension from a Seahawks team whose defense he’d anchored for years. He never got that extension, decided to play anyway, and then missed most of the season due to that broken leg. In that context, flipping the bird was a relatively tame reaction.
Thomas was asked about the incident by ESPN this week, and had this to say:
“I don’t regret my decision,” Thomas told ESPN’s Josina Anderson. “If my teammates felt like it was toward them, I regret that part. But I don’t regret doing that to Pete.”
“I gave Pete the middle finger because I felt like he wasn’t being honest with me,” Thomas said.
Thomas signed a four-year contract with the Ravens this offseason, which came with $32 million guaranteed. That’s not the worst outcome for a 30-year-old safety coming off a broken leg, which probably contributes to the lack of regret he feels over owning Carroll on national TV. Who wouldn’t feel good about telling their boss to eat shit and then getting paid anyway?