PJ LeDorze made headlines recently by offering his Richard Sherman to a young, distraught Packers fan named Austin McElravy after Seattle’s comeback win in CenturyLink Field. Austin and his family were so appreciative, they reached out to King 5 News, who reconnected them with LeDorze. You can read the full story here.
Scout caught up with LeDorze to ask his side of the story, and what’s happened since the story went viral.
McCreary: That’s one of the best wins in Seahawks history. I’m sure the guys around you are celebrating, wanting to talk a little trash maybe… they must have been so pumped about their own team, and yet you are looking at Austin.
LeDorze: I looked over my shoulder and realized that one of the best things that’s ever happened to the Seahawks in the playoffs was the worst thing that ever happened to Austin and his family in a playoff game. We all got caught up and the McElravys got caught up. There was a point where they were kind of celebrating with us. They realized what they witnessed and the impact it would have on Seattle, so I think they appreciated it, as much as it hurt. I didn’t even… the thought kind of popped into my head and I ran with it. I didn’t really put much thought into it, it was kind of just an emotional reaction. I just said, “take my jersey,” and the kid was floored. I don’t think he really knew how to respond. He just threw the jersey on and was smiling ear-to-ear. It was an incredible moment.
Walking out, he had on his Brett Favre jersey and he had my jersey on over his Brett Favre and the yellow collar sticking out of the Sherman jersey, with a Packer hard hat on. It was quite the scene. Half-Packer, half-Hawk.
McCreary: The story reminded me of soccer where the captains trade jerseys as a sign of respect after the game, and I thought that was a cool gesture. Tim McElravy (Austin’s dad) clearly appreciated it, too, to reach out to the news and offer to buy you a beer. Have you heard from him and the family at all?
LeDorze: I have, yes. I’ve been in contact with Tim. He and I have been messaging on Facebook, and they tracked me down pretty quickly. I didn’t expect this kind of reaction. I’m not that surprised that Seattle responded this way, because Seattle’s a great community and these things happen in Seattle more than the outside world sees. So I’m not surprised that it made people feel good locally, but I was surprised that it went beyond that. I certainly wasn’t expecting this. I’m just amazed, kind of taken aback by the whole story and humbled.
People forget it’s not that hard to be a good winner, but the way the McElravys handled their team losing was much more impressive. I think that means more and should be the topic.
McCreary: You talked a bit about the response in Seattle. What’s that been like?
LeDorze: People have just been blowing up my social media. A lot of friends and family, obviously. The people who have my phone number have been texting me a lot. It’s been really cool. I live on Bainbridge Island, which made recent news by banning cheese on Friday in City Hall. So, it’s kind of cool that our little island is making waves.
McCreary: For cheese and cheese-heads, that’s a cool combination. Last question: have the Seahawks reached out to you at all? Tim McElravy said he hoped the Seahawks would at least get you another jersey.
LeDorze: No, they haven’t, but just the recognition puts us outside what my expectations were. I didn’t really have any expectations. So I’m happy. I can always get another jersey, but neither of us can repeat that moment. I’m glad that Tim and Austin appreciated it. There’s been kind of mixed feedback. Most people commenting have been positive and see the gesture for what it was, but not everybody would have received the jersey well…
To each their own. I can understand why some people would have found it insulting, but based on the report I had with them, I thought it was a good idea and, lo and behold, here we are. I’m glad this family understood.