Tom Brady made headlines when it was reported he sent a hand-written letter to console a grieving family that had lost their 20-year-old son to a senseless killing.
The young man who was slain, Calvin Riley, was a pitcher at San Joaquin Delta Junior College in Stockton, Calif. He also played his high school ball at the same school as Brady, Serra High School in San Mateo. He was in a park playing Pokemon Go when he was shot and killed this past August.
Now five months removed from his response to that tragedy, Brady has commented on the letter after his compassionate action was made public.
“A friend of mine from high school had kind of told me the situation and how special of a kid Calvin was,” Tom said in his weekly press conference on Thursday, per the team website. “It was just something that I thought I could do to maybe raise their spirits a little bit. [It was] a very tragic situation.
“I’ve had different people pick me up at different times and it’s just, you always appreciate those things and you always remember them. I could never imagine having to go through what the family’s had to go through over the course of this period,” Tom said. “I think our team does a lot of things and a lot of players in our locker room do a lot of things to try to make positive impacts in the community when we can. You hate for it to be under those circumstances, but unfortunately, some tragic things happen and you just do what you can do to help.”
Brady’s gesture and touching words had a positive impact on the Riley family. His father, Sean Riley, said it made a big impact, especially given the local connection and that Calvin was such a huge fan of Brady.
“Of course it did. It celebrated the life of my kid. Tom talked about the brotherhood of the people at Serra, what a special community it is,” Sean told Sports Illustrated. “That letter, it meant so much. My kid took so much pride in being part of Serra. And he really did love Tom Brady. I can’t say that enough.”
Though most of us never see the soft, compassionate side of our weekend gladiators in the NFL, this interaction between Brady and the Riley family is a touching reminder that, despite so much negative press when things go sideways with our stars, there is much more good that happens behind the scenes.