Tom Brady Reached Out to a Grieving Family With a Handwritten Letter
Sports| | By Brian Delpozo
Tom Brady may be preparing for the NFL Playoffs, but his off-field kindhearted actions towards the family of Calvin Riley, originally reported by Sports Illustrated, are gaining more attention than any practice during the New England Patriots’ bye week.
Riley grew up a passionate Patriots fan in Lowell, Massachusetts. In 2011, the Riley family moved from New England to the Bay Area in California, where Riley played numerous sports at Serra High School in San Mateo, Brady’s alma mater. After graduation, the 20-year old continued his athletic pursuits at San Joaquin Delta Junior College, leading the school’s baseball team to the state Final Four.
Calvin Riley was mulling scholarship offers from Division I schools last summer when he and a friend went into San Francisco to play Pokemon Go! at the height of the mobile game’s popularity. During a sojourn into a public park, Riley was shot and killed. His murder is still unsolved, as police haven’t been able to pinpoint a motive — it appeared to be random and nothing was taken — or a suspect.
Riley’s funeral and memorial service drew over 1,000 people, including Serra football coach Patrick Walsh and former Serra wide receiver and Brady teammate John Kirby. The two, and others in the school’s community, reached out to the superstar quarterback hoping he could offer a measure of comfort to the Riley family. Brady responded by sending a handwritten letter, delivered through Kirby, to Riley’s parents, Sean and Kariann Riley.
“Then I get it (the letter), and it’s just surreal,” Riley’s father Sean told Sports Illustrated. “Tom Brady. And it’s two pages, handwritten. It would have been easy to send a card or an email. ”
Riley didn’t discuss the specific content of the letter, but did tell the magazine, “It celebrated the life of my kid. Tom talked about the brotherhood of the people at Serra, what a special community it is. 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.”
For his part, Brady confirmed that he sent the letter, but wouldn’t say anything more about it. According to Father Joe Bradley, the Catholic Priest who celebrated Riley’s funeral mass and has known Brady for decades, that’s not surprising.
“He’s very generous, and I’ve asked him to let me talk about some of the stuff he does. But he just doesn’t want that recognition.”