Plum resident doesn't regret trading Terrible Towel for Ravens running back's gloves
Cody Yocca is a rabid Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
Throughout the 2012 season, he has ridden the rollercoaster of highs and lows, including the exhilarating victories at Baltimore and Cincinnati as well as the disheartening losses at Cleveland and at home against San Diego on Sunday.
A couple of weeks ago, when the Ravens came to town for a Sunday night game, the Plum resident and 2011 Plum High School graduate made a trade that he didn't think twice about.
After Baltimore's 13-10 victory, Yocca was standing in Section 124 at Heinz Field — next to where the Ravens entered and exited — with about 100 other fans, when Ravens running back Ray Rice came over to make a proposition.
“He came over and asked if someone could throw him a Terrible Towel in exchange for his gloves,” Yocca said.
“No one was budging. I was like, ‘Hey, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Why not?' ”
Yocca, who golfed and also played football and baseball at Plum, said some of the fans around him weren't too happy.
“I can't mention all the things they told me, but some told me to burn (the gloves) or throw them back or step on them.
“But others told me I did the right thing, with a couple of people suggesting I could get some money for them down the road. I think it would be cool to keep them and maybe sell them down the road if he keeps on playing the way he is and gets in the Hall of Fame.
“But I never really thought it would've taken off like it did.”
A photo posted on the Ravens' website and on other national websites showed Rice wearing the Terrible Towel on his head as he entered the locker room, drawing criticism from many in Steeler Nation, including linebacker LaMarr Woodley.
Woodley warned Rice on Twitter about disrespecting the Towel, and he referenced what happened when other players such as Cincinnati's T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Tennessee's LenDale White did the same thing.
In a story on the Ravens' website, Rice defended the trade and putting the Towel on his head.
“You think about it as where I'm at in my career, you cherish these rivalries, cherish the moments,” he said.
“I apologize for those who see it as disrespect.”
Yocca said the reaction on Twitter was mixed.
“As expected, I got some hatred towards the fact I did that,” he said. “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. Others, like the fans at the stadium, said they would've done the same thing.”
Yocca said he reached out to Rice on Twitter, and Rice responded with kind words.
“It was pretty cool for him to respond back like that,” Yocca said.
“On (Rice's) side, he said he's going to keep the Towel and tell his kids of the rivalry. And down the road, I can tell my kids about the rivalry and how I got a great player's gloves.”
Michael Love is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or firstname.lastname@example.org.