The young Pittsburgh Steelers fan who helped rile up Steelers Nation by giving Ravens running back Ray Rice his Terrible Towel after the Ravens beat the Steelers at Heinz Field four weeks ago says he has no regrets.
As the Ravens walked off the field following their 13-10 victory, Rice approached a section of fans and asked if any of them wanted to exchange one of the Steelers’ signature yellow towels for the pair of purple football gloves he was wearing. Cody Yocca, a Pittsburgh native who is a year removed from high school, volunteered his.
“No one was budging. I was like, ‘Hey, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Why not?’” he recently told The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
So Yocca handed him his Terrible Towel and Rice tossed him his gloves. Some fellow Steelers fans gave him grief about it, he said, and told him he should burn them. Others told him he should try to sell them online.
Meanwhile, Rice walked down the tunnel to the locker room with the towel on his head. The image was caught by cameramen and the pictures, which went viral, infuriated Steelers fans and a few Steelers players.
Days later, Rice explained he wanted the towel for his memorabilia room, which includes game-worn jerseys that he has exchanged with NFL players such as Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson and others.
He also apologized if some had perceived it as an act of disrespect.
“You think about it as where I‘m at in my career, you cherish these rivalries, cherish the moments,” he said.
Like Rice, Yocca also got ripped by some Pittsburgh fans on Twitter.
“As expected, I got some hatred towards the fact I did that,” Yocca told The Tribune-Review. “They called me a jagoff and a traitor and told me I shouldn‘t be a part of Steelers Nation. It didn‘t bother me too much.”
Yocca later sent a tweet to Rice, who responded to his message, something Yocca said “was pretty cool.”
“On [his] side, he said he‘s going to keep the Towel and tell his kids of the rivalry,” said Yocca, who considers himself a rabid fan. “And down the road, I can tell my kids about the rivalry and how I got a great player's gloves.”