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Tom Brady speaks about handwritten letter to grieving family

After the Riley family lost their 20-year-old son to a random, senseless act of violence, they received a letter from someone they had never met: Tom Brady.

Photo by Keith Nordstrom
Photo by Keith Nordstrom

Calvin Riley was just 20-years-old when he was shot and killed while playing Pokémon Go in a San Francisco park on Aug. 6. It was a random, senseless killing that caused grief to ripple through his family and community.

He was a talented pitcher in his junior year at the San Joaquin Delta Junior College in Stockton, Calif., but before he headed to junior college, Calvin played for Serra High School in San Mateo – the same high school Tom Brady attended.

In a story that surfaced this week via "Sports Illustrated’s" Tim Layden, it was revealed that Tom wrote the family a letter as an attempt to bring them comfort in some of the hardest days of their lives.

"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. "It was just something that I thought I could do to maybe raise their spirits a little bit. [It was] a very tragic situation." 

By all accounts, Calvin was a vibrant kid with a promising future and infectious personality. Though Tom's handwritten letter won't bring Calvin back, won't undo the pain his friends and family have endured, he said wanted to do something to let the Riley family know they were not alone – even if they had never met face to face.

"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."

And according to Sean Riley, Calvin's father, the letter did provide a level of comfort.

"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."

You can read the full story and learn more about Calvin here


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