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Suddenly everybody hates Julius Thomas

Colin D. | February 17, 2015

“Broncos Country loved JT and now he’s being run out of town on a digital rail becuase of one article written by one sports radio host based on the comments of one anonymous source”

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At Portland State University he was a basketball star.

Julius Thomas played four seasons of basketball for the small Big Sky Conference school. He set school records for career games played, career wins and career field goal percentage and led Portland State to two Big Sky tournament championships and two NCAA tournament berths. Thomas played only one season of football for the Portland State Vikings. In 2010 he accumulated twenty-nine catches and 453 yards as a tight end. In 2011 he was selected in the fourth round of the NFL draft by the Denver Broncos.

Thomas only had one catch in his first season with the Broncos. Unjuries plagued his rookie campaign and carried over into his second year. He never played a snap in 2012. Thomas became a key cog in the Broncos’ offense, though, In 2013, catching 89 passes for 788 yards and twelve touchdowns. He was named a Pro-Bowler in 2013 and again in 2014.

But now everybody suddenly hates Julius Thomas.

Why? Because of a story on Brandon Spano’s web site yesterday basically claiming that, according to a “source”, Thomas doesn’t like football, that it’s a means to an end, that he values a big contract more than he values being a Denver Bronco, that he already turned down a substantial offer to remain a Bronco and that he has often been healthy enough to play and simply refused to. The article spread like a wildfire through the dry tinder of Broncos Twitter and quickly had fans forming virtual lynch mobs. Here’s a tiny sampling of Tweets reflecting the type of vitreol being directed at the tight end:  

Julius Thomas: Fool’s gold. And the Raiders will learn the hard way. Which is kinda awesome.

Julius Thomas will be the 2015 equivalent to Eric Decker last year. Status will plummet once away from Manning. #Broncos

Stop comparing Eric Decker to Julius. Decker had his bitchy moments but he had 10 times the heart in denver Julius Thomas does

Julius Thomas is a bitch.

Julius Thomas is straight trash, been saying that since training camp.

Now Hear This: Julius Thomas is as done as fried chicken floating to the top of the skillet in Denver..

Bye bye julius Thomas broncos country don’t need u here take ur 13 million bs to chicago bounce

Let Julius Thomas go, he’s replaceable. Nothing but a pass catcher. Catch block for shit, not worth big time money he wants

That’s a lot of hatred being directed toward a person who was, up until yesterday, considered to be a top priority for the Broncos in free-agency. Broncos Country loved JT and now he’s being run out of town on a digital rail becuase of one article written by one sports radio host based on the comments of one anonymous source. In his story Spano quotes the unnamed Broncos player as saying: “He didn’t grow up playing this game and it’s just not in his DNA to put it all out there.”, implying that Thomas didn’t give the Broncos his all.

Accusing a fellow player of not going all-out for his team, of being “soft”, is among the least honorable things a player can do. Doing so anonymously is a total pussy move. And publishing such quotes from a single source without backing the information up is wildly irresponsible. I’m sure Spano earned his site some clicks but he did so at his own peril. Spano made himself a momentary hero to some by “breaking” the story that a young NFL player is acting in his own best interests both physically and financially but in the process he made himself that much more nuclear to other players who might otherwise be willing to share their innermost thoughts with him.

There’s every chance that all of the information in Spano’s report is true – but it’s just as likely that it’s not all true. Spano didn’t reach out to Thomas himself for comment. He didn’t talk to JT’s agent. He didn’t talk to the Broncos and he didn’t talk to any other sources. Instead he rolled with a few comments from one guy and lit Thomas up on the internet in an incredible way.

Julius Thomas has been a star for the Broncos and fans should be grateful for the great moments he has had – and hopeful that the team can find a way to retain his services. Big pass catching tight ends are an assett in today’s NFL and Thomas is almost certainly among the top three at three position.  Wishing him ill or hastening his exit from Denver is a big mistake. But the reaction fans have had to Spano’s article is typical. There’s a mob mentality on the internet and things can often go haywire. That’s what has happened in this case.

Written by Colin D.

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