“We heard your story,” it read. “We appreciate all our great fans around the country and worldwide! Hail to the Redskins!!”
The care package from the team was the latest and largest show of support for Carson, who had been teased by a few of his classmates after showing up to his school’s “Team Pride Day” decked out in a Redskins sweatshirt, slippers and fake hair a few weeks earlier. Carson was an easy target as one of the only Redskins fans at his school, where the Broncos, Chiefs and Vikings are among the more popular NFL teams.
“Obviously, the Redskins have had a pretty tough year, and some of his buddies from school gave him a little too much heat for being a fan,” Clint Adams, Carson’s dad, said in a phone interview. “He came home pretty bummed out.”
Lindsey Adams posted about the incident on Facebook and kindly requested that the Redskins win their next game so her son could return to school with something to brag about. One of Clint’s former co-workers shared that message with former Redskins defensive lineman and Nebraska great Adam Carriker, who reached out to the family to offer some words of encouragement.
“I just told Carson, ‘True fans stick with their teams through thick, through thin, through wins, through losses, through ties,’ ” Carriker said in a phone interview. “ ‘Why blend in when you were born to stand out?’ ”
Carson’s story might have ended there, but Carriker mentioned it at the beginning of “Carriker Live,” a weekly show primarily about Nebraska sports that he streams on Facebook, and in a subsequent tweet. When Redskins superfan Christie Lopez saw Carriker’s tweet, which included a photo of Carson falling asleep while wearing a toy Redskins helmet, she immediately messaged him to ask for the family’s contact information.
“Kids and dogs get me every time,” said Lopez, a member of Pro Football’s Ultimate Fan Association (PFUFA), which is dedicated to promoting the fellowship of all fans and supporting charitable activities. “I had to do something to help.”
Lopez put out a call on her Facebook page for other PFUFA members to send Carson letters of support. Fellow Redskins die-hards, including “HogFarmers” Jeff Rinehart and Chris Bryant, joined the cause. At the Redskins’ fan rally in Green Bay, Wis., ahead of Washington’s game against the Packers on Dec. 8, Rinehart borrowed the microphone and organized a video message that he later sent to Carson’s mom.
Thanks to Robert Larry and everyone else in the Redskins org for a few minutes during the rally to talk w fans about a 9yr old boy from Nebraska that was bullied for being a Redskins fan.Posted by The Hog Farmers on Monday, December 9, 2019
“[The Redskins] might not be doing well, but there’s a pretty good, tight group of fans and we stick together and continue to support the team,” said Rinehart, who visited kids at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital on Saturday and helped organize a Toys for Tots drive at FedEx Field on Sunday to benefit pediatric cancer patients. “We just wanted [Carson] to know that we had his back.”
Lopez, who serves as an official Redskins fan captain and has regular meetings with team management, was putting together a care package to send to Carson when the Redskins contacted her to say that they wanted to send him something as well. Lopez passed along the Adams family’s address.
“He was just over the moon. It was pretty crazy,” Clint Adams said of the package of gear that arrived from Ashburn, which included a custom No. 19 Redskins jersey with “Adams” on the back. “We weren’t expecting anything.”
Clint is a Chiefs fan, but Carson has cheered for the Redskins since he received a Redskins figurine in a McDonald’s Happy Meal a few years ago. Jordan Reed and Adrian Peterson are his favorite players, but he was excited to receive phone calls from outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and safety Jeremy Reaves after his story made its way around Redskins Park. Both players told him they appreciated his support from Nebraska.
With his teacher’s permission, Carson brought several of the items he received from the Redskins to school the next day for show-and-tell. His classmates were impressed, and they even joined him in shouting “Hail to the Redskins.”
“It turned into a teaching moment for the other kids,” Lopez said. “His mom called me and said Carson wants to work with PFUFA, if we come across other kids [who are getting teased], to send them notes of encouragement. … This is what being a Redskins fan is about, and this is why I’m proud to be one.”
“We’ve been overwhelmed with the love that Carson’s been shown by people who have no idea who he is,” said Clint Adams, who noted that Carson has a standing invitation to tailgate with the “HogFarmers” at FedEx Field. “We’ve been overwhelmed with how awesome people have been.”
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