By Ken MacLeod


BOSTON (CBS) – It’s Super Bowl week and Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan has plenty to do. But that didn’t stop him from recording and sending a two minute video to a bullied, 8-year-old Pats fan.

“Hey Rory,” Hogan begins, “I heard you were going through a little tough time at school supporting our team.”

Indeed, Rory O’Regan was getting plenty of grief about wearing his number 15 Chris Hogan jersey at his elementary school in Ithaca, New York.

“It sort of bothered me,” Rory says.

He had expected some ribbing, but couldn’t believe how venomous it got.

Rory O’Regan (Courtesy photo)

When Rory finally described the situation to his mother, she realized it had gone past the tipping point.

“There’s a very fine line between teasing and bullying,” says his mom, Frances Downey.

Downey is a lifelong Patriots fan who grew up in Massachusetts.

But when she posted her concerns on a fan Facebook page, she was flabbergasted when her boy got a personalized video response.

Chris Hogan #15 of the New England Patriots runs up the sideline for a 63 yard touchdown reception in the first quarter during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on December 16, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

“Don’t worry about what other people think of you,” Hogan tells Rory, “Don’t worry about what other people say. Just continue to believe in yourself.”

“I was just floored,” says Rory’s Mom, “by the integrity, the goodwill and the caring.”

“I hoped you will continue to wear that jersey proudly,” Hogan tells the youngster.

Not surprisingly, Rory is somewhat disbelieving.

“I have never been so happy in my life,” says Rory. “I think this is one of my best days – ever.”

And for the past couple of days, Rory has worn number 15 to school, with his favorite players swagger.

The school quickly stepped in to tone down the young Patriot haters who’d gone overboard.

In the video, Hogan even channels a little bit of coach Bill Belichick, urging Rory to “block out the noise” and persevere.

“I think it’s a great message for kids, and adults – and basically everyone,” says the boy’s Mom.

Perhaps all of this was a little more than a third grader was ready for.

“It’s amazing,” says Rory. “Like seriously.”

Ken MacLeod

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