President Obama made history on Wednesday by commuting the sentences of 214 non-violent offenders, the most that have ever been done in one day.
Among them was the grandmother of Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who has spent the past 16 years in federal prison in Florida.
Minnie Pearl Thomas, 60, and Demaryius’ mother, Katina Smith, were both sentenced for their involvement in a Georgia cocaine ring in the 1990s.
Smith had her sentence commuted last year and finally got to see her son play in the NFL as the Broncos stormed past the competition during the 2015 season and won the Super Bowl.
When Thomas visited the White House with the rest of his team last spring, he brought a handwritten letter thanking Obama for commuting his mother’s sentence and mentioning his grandmother’s plight, the New York Daily News reported.
On Wednesday, he posted a tweet thanking the president for finally uniting his family, saying he “couldn’t ask for a better day.”
The Super Bowl champion was just a child when police raided his home and arrested his grandmother and mother on suspicion of crack distribution. After they were both sentenced to 20 years each, Thomas was raised by his aunt and uncle and went on to play college football at Georgia Tech before being drafted by the Broncos with the 22nd overall pick in 2010.
With a total 562 commutations during his presidency — most of which have come in the past year — Obama has now used his constitutional clemency power to shorten the sentences of more federal inmates than any president since Calvin Coolidge, USAToday.com reported.