This week the Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman received a significant amount of media attention for a statement he made Sunday, giving critics ammunition and fans a reason to rally in defense of the cornerback. But another member of the team, full back Derrick Coleman, is making headlines for a reason fans and critics alike can appreciate.
Two weeks ago, Duracell released its latest commercial featuring Coleman's hearing impairment. The commercial shows the struggles Coleman endured from being teased on the playground to struggling to play football with hearing aids. Although Coleman was continually told he couldn't do it, he didn't believe that.
"They didn't call my name, told me it was over," Coleman says in the video. "But I've been deaf since I was 3, so I didn't listen."
The powerful message has received a positive response from viewers, but none as tender as that of Jake Kovalcik's daughter, Riley. On Tuesday morning, Kovalcik posted a letter from his 9-year-old daughter on Twitter to Coleman and the Seattle Seahawks team stating:
"You've inspired my little girls in a way I never could. THANK YOU!"
In the letter, Riley addresses Coleman as "my inspiration." She explains that both she and her twin sister are like Coleman because they also wear hearing aids and like sports.
"I know how you feel. I also have hearing aids. Just try your best. I have faif (sic) in you," the letter states.
The tweet soon received more than 1,500 retweets and 1,500 likes, and on Wednesday afternoon, Coleman responded:
"@JakeIsMobile Your girls are awesome!" Coleman tweeted. "Read them my letter back when you can! Thank you for the support! Means a lot!"
In the letter, Coleman expresses his gratitude for the letter and support.
"Dear Miss Kovalcik, Thanks for the letter. Really was great hearing from a friend who I have so much in common with," Coleman wrote.
He goes on to say, "Even though we wear hearing aids, we can still accomplish our goals and dreams!"
The New Jersey dad spoke with the New York Daily News regarding his daughter's sudden attention and Coleman's example.
"The only reason I put the tweet out was so that he can get to see that he's an inspiration for my kids,” Kovalcik told the Daily News. "He's been so successful. He's somebody to look up to, and he made her feel like hearing aids are cool."