Alyssa Okada is the girlfriend of New England Patriots safety Obi Melifonwu. Okada posted on Instagram that she quit her Fort Myers (Florida) gym job over racist remarks from two white male co-workers about her relationship with Melifonwu, who is black.
According to the Daily Mail, the CEO of Platinum Fitness and another man called her “unclean” in a private Facebook message for dating a black man. She said that while the men attempted to apologize for their “mistake,” she wasn’t buying it.
“It’s not a f—ing mistake,” she said in her Instagram story. “This is how you feel, this is how you think. You’re just sorry you got caught.
“If someone says something that s flat out f—ing wrong, stop making excuses for them.”
Neither the gym nor Melifonwu, 25, commented on the matter. Heavy has reached out to Okada for additional statements.
Here’s what you need to know about the 24-year-old Okada:
1. She Released a Full Comment About the Incident on Her Public Facebook
In addition to posting a picture of the Facebook conversation, Okada offered a written version of her thoughts about leaving Platinum Fitness. She posted on her public Facebook on June 14 that she “considered saying nothing at all,” but decided to go with it to help the millions who face similar racism every day.
The reason I loved working at Platinum was because I was able to build amazing relationships with amazing people of so many different backgrounds & walks of life. I am so terribly saddened that I had to leave those people & relationships behind, but I cannot work for anyone who thinks, feels, or speaks this way about others. This was said about me before I was hired, but I only recently found out. I was and still am extremely qualified for the position BUT my flaw was who I am dating. The owner of this massive company who’s mission is to help and uplift people called me “unclean” because of who I am dating. I understand that this is something that I unfortunately have to deal with a lot in my life, but I will not stand for it to be from the person who signs my paychecks.
She also mentioned that several other female trainers and clients, including a Natasha Petrisko, faced similar “sexual harassment and verbal abuse.” She states that she only worked at Platinum Fitness for a couple of months.
2. A Woman in Her Facebook Comments Revealed that One of the Men Is Named Michael DeLeo
Okada has received heaps of social media support since revealing the incident. In particular, one user named Gina Petracco commented that “I know I did not know you Both that well but I am proud of what you both stood up for.” She also named Michael DeLeo as the manager of the gym, saying he should “be a man and apologize.” Aaron Nash is the CEO of Platinum Fitness.
In the image of the Facebook conversation between the men, the name Michael appears over the message stating that Okada was qualified “but she dates black guys lol.”
DeLeo owns three gyms in the southwest Florida area around Fort Myers. He states in his bio that he earned a B.S. in Business Management from Albertus Magnus College, a C.P.T through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and an Honorable Discharge from the United States Air Force.
Okada no longer appears on his team member page.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article named Michael DeLeo as the owner and CEO of Platinum Fitness. This has since been corrected.
3. Both Okada and Melifonwu Come From Diverse Backgrounds
In her Facebook post, Okada mentions that she is “the product of an interracial relationship” and that she has “faced the obstacles that come along with this” throughout her life.
On her Instagram header, her first bullet shows emojis of the Japanese and German flags. This diversity is just one reason why her and Melifonwu could’ve connected.
The 6-foot-4 Patriots safety was born in England, according to the Hartford Courant. His given first name is Henry William. His parents are originally from Nigeria. They gave him the middle name Obiajulu, which is Igbo for “consoled heart.”
He eventually starred at Grafton High School in Massachusetts before committing to play collegiately at the University of Connecticut. After recording 118 tackles and four interceptions as a senior, plus posting a 4.4-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, he was selected No. 56 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders.
Regarding his current allegiance, he gave a shoutout to the U.K. after the Patriots won the Super Bowl this past February. He posted a picture of him holding the British flag just days after the win.
4. Okada & Melifonwu Met at the UConn
While Melifonwu played football at Connecticut, Okada was getting her Bachelor’s in Public Relations and Communications, according to her LinkedIn. Before then, she attended Herricks High School in New Hyde Park (N.Y.).
She states that she was awarded an academic scholarship in Aug. 2013 for four years “for academic and leadership accomplishments in high school.” She also claims to know a little Spanish.
According to her Way Up page, she also was a member of the Delta Gamma sorority.
5. She Has Worked as a Personal Trainer Since Graduating from School
In addition to the job at Platinum Fitness, she worked as a Personal Trainer at a UFC GYM in the Greater New York Area. Her Way Up page also credits some time as an office assistant and sales associate at Twenty5A, a women’s fashion boutique located in New York.
She posts several pictures of her toned physique on Instagram. Much of them advertise Physiq Apparel, a fitness clothing line. She links to the company’s home page on her Instagram.
The About Us page for the site reads:
Founded in 2013, Physiq Apparel was built initially to solve the problem of finding high quality and reasonably priced fitness clothing. Starting with essential products like t-shirts and tank tops, we then expanded to cover all types of fitness clothing for men and women. We have now established ourselves as one of the leading providers of fitness and lifestyle wear. We specialise in releasing superior quality products, refined right down to the technical materials and features to create unrivalled fitness clothing. We have a huge selection of products to choose from, ranging from shirts, stringer vests, jackets, bottoms and accessories.
If you use her code ALYSSA for the site, you get 10 percent off your order.