Chris Hogan reaches out to 8-year-old Patriots fan bullied for jersey choice

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/25178/" data-ylk="slk:Chris Hogan">Chris Hogan</a> took time out of Super Bowl prep to reach out to a young fan. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Chris Hogan took time out of Super Bowl prep to reach out to a young fan. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Chris Hogan is passing along the Patriots Way mantra and encouraging words to a young boy in need of it.

The New England Patriots wide receiver reached out to an upstate New York third-grader with a video message after the boy’s mother said her son was bullied for wearing Hogan’s jersey to school.

Young boy ‘bullied’ for jersey choice

Upstate New York can be a melting pot of NFL fandom, especially in the central part of the state. One thing on which residents are almost always in agreement: disliking the Patriots.

Rory O’Regan is an 8-year-old third grader in Ithaca, per CBS Boston. He roots for the Patriots because his mom, Frances Downey, is a lifelong fan from Massachusetts. And he wears Hogan’s jersey because his father, who died when he was young, was from Ireland and Hogan is an Irish name, per the Patriots’ website.

Rory wore Hogan’s No. 15 jersey to school before the AFC championship game and Downey wore her Tom Brady jersey.

Per the Patriots’ story:

“Not soon after arriving at school, he broke down and was tearful,” she said. “He said that people were saying mean things to him because of the jersey … He was afraid of wearing his jersey and wanted to take it off.”

Rory told CBS Boston it “sort of bothered me” that classmates were giving him grief and when he told his mom, she said it went past the “very fine line between teasing and bullying.”

She reportedly posted the incident on her Facebook page.

Hogan reaches out to young fan

Hogan posted a two-minute video speaking to Rory, thanking him for his support and encouraging him to keep his head up. He reminded Rory to “believe in everything you love doing and never stop doing that.”

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“I’m just so proud that you took the step and wore that jersey,” Hogan said. “And be proud to wear that and be proud to support your team.”

Hogan, in his third year with the Patriots following four years with the Buffalo Bills, also shared advice commonly spoken by his head coach.

“This is what coach (Bill) Belichick always says: block out all the noise,” Hogan said. “Don’t worry what other people think about you. Don’t worry about what other people say. Just continue to believe in yourself. Surround yourself with people that love you and that support you and I know that you have a family that loves you and supports you. You are part of our family of fans that love and support us. I hope that you’ll continue to wear that jersey proudly.”

Fan calls it ‘best day’ of his life

Rory told CBS Boston he didn’t think he had ever been so happy and that it was “one of my best days ever.”

His mom, Frances, echoed that sentiment to the Patriots website, adding that he was “overwhelmed with joy.”

I think that on the 10th time that he watched it he started actually listening to all the words instead of just reacting to it being Chris Hogan talking to him.”

She said she wasn’t expecting anything from her post.

“I thinks it speaks volumes for the values and integrity of Chris Hogan as a man and as a representative of the Patriots and NFL,” she told the website.

Rory has worn his jersey to school the past couple of days, CBS Boston reported, and the school stepped in to “tone down” those who had gone too far with their remarks.

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