BY Art Thiel 12:09AM 05/07/2020

Thiel: Earl finds limits to how free a safety can be

Nina Thomas, wife of Earl Thomas, was arrested April 13 in Austin, TX., after threatening the former Seahawks star with a gun after catching him with other women.

The wife of FS Earl Thomas confronted the former Seahawks star with a loaded gun when she found him with another woman. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

In his time in Seattle, Earl Thomas sometimes said and did things that seemed a little . . . eccentric. Mostly, it seemed to add to his charm.

Not this time.

The former Seahawks star, now with the Baltimore Ravens, was caught cheating by his wife, Nina, who held a loaded gun at his head in an AirBnb rental unit in Austin, TX., where he and his brother, Seth, were engaged in an orgy.

The April 13 episode was reported Wednesday night by (who else?) TMZ, which had a copy of a report by Austin police that included information on the first encounter with the couple at 3:41 a.m.:

“We observed that a black female wearing an orange sweater with a knife in her hand, later identified as Nina Thomas, was chasing a shirtless black male, later identified as Earl Thomas, with a pistol in his hand around a vehicle.”

Police drew weapons and ordered the couple to the ground. They complied, and the threat ended. But the story didn’t. Not likely for years.

Thomas released a video on his Instagram account to “get ahead” of the TMZ story, indicating something did happen, but avoided specifics.

After all parties were interviewed, Earl Thomas, 32 Thursday, was not charged, but Nina Thomas and two friends who accompanied her were arrested. Nina was charged with burglary of a house with intent to commit aggravated assault with a deadly weapon/family violence.

She posted bond and was released, and also was restrained with an emergency protective order, requiring her to stay 200 yards away from Earl and his alleged mistress.

In her statement in the charging documents, Nina said she argued earlier in the day at home with her husband, who spent his first nine seasons in Seattle — five of which included an All-Pro selection — before leaving in free agency in 2019 for Baltimore, about his drinking. He left in the company of his brother.

She checked on his whereabouts by logging into his Snapchat account and discovered he was nearby. After summoning her friends, she said she took her husband’s gun, a 9 mm Beretta, and removed the clip, with the intention of “scaring him.” But a single bullet remained in the chamber.

When they arrived, they “discovered Earl and Seth naked in bed with other women.”

Nina admits she put the gun to Earl’s head, not realizing it still had a round. Cell phone video shot by one of the women shows the gun at Earl’s head, according to the report, “from less than a foot away and it can clearly be seen that Nina’s finger was on the trigger and the safety is disengaged.”

Earl wrestled away the gun, and claimed he was struck several times.

Nina’s attorney, Jonathan Goins, told TMZ,  “I am here to declare that my client unequivocally and categorically denies these allegations and we look forward to our day in court where we can clear her good name.”

Thomas, who grew up in Orange, TX., and was a star at the University of Texas, was a first-round draft choice by the Seahawks in 2010 and became a member of the famed Legion of Boom, part of one of the greatest defenses in NFL history. After a preseason holdout in 2018 failed to get him a contract extension he sought, Thomas returned to the field for four games before a knee injury wiped out the rest of the season.

As he was carted off the field, Thomas infamously gave a middle finger to coach Pete Carroll, who dismissed the gesture as post-injury emotion. But the acrimony from Thomas was real, believing Carroll’s contract resistance disrespected his contributions.

Now, at least, it won’t be the task of Carroll to explain Thomas to the world.

The office of Nina Thomas’s attorney released a statement late Wednesday night.


  • James

    Earl disrespected his marriage contract. He disrespected Pete.

    • art thiel

      The term “disrespect” gets way over-used by athletes when it’s really about money. Thanks for pointing it out.

    • jafabian

      For all we know Earl was binge drinking during his holdout based on what Nina stated. I’ve always thought the way Earl handled himself during that time and during the season were out of character.

  • Talkjoc

    Wow. He’s lucky something tragic didn’t occur. Any guess to how many games he’ll be suspended for? Minimum of 6.

    • art thiel

      This is a new one. Apparently he broke no laws, unless it was a firearms law. And there is no NFL rule against infidelity, bad judgment or foolishness. Conduct unbecoming? I think the union will fight Goodell on that.

      • coug73

        Earl Thomas is no gentleman, so he skates. No Wheaties Box, no endorsements of any kind.

        • Tman

          Does someone still eat Wheaties?

          • Archangelo Spumoni

            Sir T:
            Very good question. I enjoy my Wheaties, smothered with lots of berries. We grow strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries and freeze a bunch for this specific purpose. HAR HAR HAR!.
            If you really want to be luxurious, don’t use skim or 2% or whole–use 1/2 & 1/2! My cholesterol is about 140 so it’s okay in moderation. Also, I have been a beekeeper for about 10 years so you know what else gets added.
            Life is good. And now I’m hungry.

          • Kristafarian

            Most have moved on to

        • art thiel

          Gentleman. I remember that term now.

    • LarryLurex70

      Suspended for what?

  • radamson

    Just another story in the naked city. It’s the Headline that nailed it! Just Perfect! :D

    • art thiel

      Thanks. I kinda liked it.

  • tor5

    That’s a heck of a story. From what I can tell, there was no real physical violence from Earl against his wife. Whatever judgments one may want to make about his behavior otherwise, that’s a major point. Beyond that, whew, they should all consider themselves very lucky no one got shot.

    • art thiel

      True, but I’m having a hard time getting to a pat on the back while imagining Earl and his paramour naked and screaming while a loaded gun is pointed at his head.

  • Kirkland

    Never mid the alleged infidelity (I’m now more surprised when there *isn’t* infidelity with married couples.) I’m more disappointed at his not following social distancing, which is dangerous to the public writ large.

    • art thiel

      Boy, you’re strict. You must really appreciate Germain Ifedi. He was great at social distancing.

  • 2nd place is 1st loser

    Apparently Earl and his brother were performing double coverage on the “receiver” The question is whether this will be considered OTA’s by the NFL.

    • art thiel

      My concern is poor social distancing.

  • DJ

    Thanks Art – sorry you had to be the bearer of bad/weird news, but great title, and thanks again for always capturing the essence of Earl so well.

    Earl Thomas – Best free safety I’ve ever seen play. Period. Maybe top five all time athlete.
    I’d always give him a pass on his eccentricities.

    Apparently respect is only expected of others in Earl’s case (Credit to “James” for bringing that up.) Too bad. Overall, bad look, Earl.

    • art thiel

      As a news guy, I try to avoid good/bad labels. It’s just what is happening.

      Many athletes need to back away from the term respect, or apply it fully in all endeavors.

  • jafabian

    Surprised? Maybe a little. For the most part Earl came across as a good citizen as Seahawk. Disappointed? Immensely. I remember Earl posting pictures of his wedding with the LOB in attendance, wearing a crown and cape for the occasion. He said he felt like a king on that day so why not look like one? How quickly they forget. Makes me wonder if the Seahawks had to play down any other transgressions by Earl over the years. Not surprised he quickly posted a statement on Instagram but I bet his agent or attorney cringed at that. The less said the better until everything is straightened out. Earl could become the new Tiger Woods.

    • art thiel

      A thing that was less sensational but perhaps more troubling was Nina’s claim of arguing over drinking.

      • eYeROQ

        Doesn’t heavy drinking cut short a pro athlete’s career? Long term it does affect muscle growth but maybe Earl doesn’t plan to play much longer.

        • jafabian

          Look at how long Vin Baker played with a drinking problem. Or Shawn Kemp.

          • eYeROQ

            Yeah but my understanding is that Payton partied just as hard, and look at the long career he enjoyed. I think Baker and Kemp just got lazy and neglected to do all the extra things you’d need to do to keep your body in shape when you get older and party hard. Knowing what a health and fitness freak Earl is I think he’d probably be far better positioned to offset the long term effects of heavy drinking than Baker or Kemp. He’s already enjoyed a decade in the game and he’s still playing at an elite level so if he’s had comparable drinking habits that entire time it hasn’t affected him yet.

  • 1coolguy

    No way was she going to shoot her meal ticket!

    • Kristafarian

      She removed the clip/bullets holder thingy
      and unless she’s familiar with how those things work
      likely wouldn’t have known one bullet remained
      making it appear ‘unloaded’ —
      gunswise, thee Most Dangerous Kind.

      ‘Oh, it ain’t loaded!’ –number three in Famous Last Words.

      • art thiel

        Your description of “holder thingy” means you are probably a Special Forces guy, yes?

        • Kristafarian

          Let’s just say I wouldn’t hafta bother filling out an application.

    • art thiel

      Easy for you to say. You weren’t looking down the barrel of a gun held by a raging woman.

  • Bruce McDermott

    What gets me is the “these things happen” meme. No, Earl, these things don’t just “happen.” You make them happen. And a loaded gun to your head, an orgy with your brother and other women, etc., are not par for the course for people with their sh*t together.

    • art thiel

      True. “Things happening” are a pandemic, or a boulder falling on your car on a mountain-highway pass. L’Affaire Thomas is all about adults making conscious choices. I’m eager to hear the rationalizations.

    • eYeROQ

      I’m not one to judge a person’s extracurricular activities, if swinging orgies with his brother is his thing so be it. That alone doesn’t mean he doesn’t have his s**t together. It’s the loaded gun part from being aimed by a spouse not invited to the orgy that is problematic.

  • Seattle Lifer

    Are they going to make a movie about this? or at least as training film short on how not to “play” in the NFL….
    What I really want to know is; who, if not al, wet the bed when Nina made her grand entrance. Only in America….

    As for “social distancing as others have mentioned, Earl though he only had to practice social distancing from his spouse. Remember, he went to Texas where misogyny and adultery are minors for many when they graduate.

  • John

    Oh I am beginning to miss the days of, “Oh he looked so great at the combine, 4.3 40 and a 36 inch jump, and was a high draft choice! How could he not know the playbook if it hit him in the head in a helmet to helmet shot?”
    Those were the days, I guess.

  • Ricky

    The next family gathering is gonna be awkward…….