Washington Football Coach Ron Rivera Surprised With Hundreds of Cardboard Cutouts Supporting Him
Through the NFL’s initiative called Crucial Catch, they are teaming up with the American Cancer Society with a commitment to saving lives from cancer. And as a show of support for one of their own, the NFL and the American Cancer Society used cardboard cutouts to surprise The Washington Football Team’s head coach, Ron Rivera.
According to the ACS’s official website, “through fundraising, education, and awareness initiatives, Crucial Catch focuses on the prevention and early detection of multiple cancers, including breast cancer.” And because Rivera is currently battling a rare form of skin cancer right now, the NFL surprised Rivera and his wife, Stephanie as they took the field Sunday afternoon to take on the Baltimore Ravens.
As Rivera stepped onto the field, he was met with 450 cardboard cutouts of people who support him in the endzone seats, which is now known as the Coach’s Corner, NFL Network’s Kim Jones reported. From NFL coaches and some of his former players to his closest family members and friends, the Washington Football Community Relations Department said “through cutout participation and direct donations, more than $30,000 was raised for The American Cancer Society!”
“When you see things like this [from] people that support you and the notes I’ve gotten, the letters I’ve gotten, it’s tremendous…It really just shows you you’re really not doing this by yourself. There’s a whole bunch of people helping you do this.” Rivera said after seeing the cutouts.
Jones also mentioned that Rivera had a “rough week.” He wasn’t at practice on Wednesday and left Thursday’s session early.
On Good Morning America, Robin Roberts mentioned that Rivera receives five treatments a week and stayed hydrated with two bags of IV fluid before Sunday’s game. Players also wore Rivera Strong t-shirts prior to the start of the game.
“It helps push me forward. And I think that’s so important because when you go through something like this, you need a support system and when you have the right type of people pushing you, man, I tell you what, it really helps. It gets your momentum going forward.”Ron Rivera on GMA
Rivera continued by saying, “It means a lot because you know, when I first was diagnosed I was angry and then as I’ve kind of gone through this, it’s always kind of well, ‘why me’ but people have reached out and have talked to me, have given me their examples or just sent their well-wishes. It helps push me forward.”
“And I think that’s so important because when you go through something like this, you need a support system and when you have the right type of people pushing you, man, I tell you what, it really helps. It gets your momentum going forward.”
One of the cardboard cutouts was of Rivera’s brother, who passed away due to pancreatic cancer in 2015, GMA revealed. “That really hit me…it’s hitting me now beacuse Mickey was such a fighter and just to see him again…that hit home, that was great, it was awesome,” Rivera said.
The American Cancer Society tweeted a special thanks to the NFL and Coach Rivera on Monday. “Thanks to NFL head coach [Ron Rivera] of the [Washington Football] team for raising valuable funds for American Cancer and #CrucialCatch, as announced this morning on @GMA! Dollars raised support screening and early detection for communities in need.”
Now that’s what you call a crucial catch, as a community teamed up to catch a loved one when they are going through a rough time in life. They got off the sidelines and got into the game, showing up and showing out for their coach.
Charlie Lapastora is a sports/news multimedia journalist who’s reported, written, produced, anchored, shot video/edited on different NBC, ABC, and FOX shows in multiple TV markets, along with digital & new media companies. Charlie has traveled the country telling national sports, news, feature, and original stories on a cable news network, airing on top 10 TV markets, satellite radio, and digital platforms. He is passionate about his faith, family—being a husband to whom he calls the G.O.A.T. of women—about reppin’ his home state of Michigan and Detroit teams (yes, including the Lions), good coffee, and loves how sports brings people together. He’s traveled the world leading and coaching sports camps and has also worked at the Detroit Pistons and LA Clippers’ NBA teams.