Pro hockey star Pat Maroon is turning a nasty bit of snark into a teachable moment after he was body-shamed by a sports announcer during a game earlier this week.
The Tampa Bay Lightning forward, whom fans call the “Big Rig,” was on the ice during a match against the Boston Bruins on Nov. 29, when a sportscaster made derogatory comments about Maroon’s size, telling the crowd that “inadvertent fasting for Pat Maroon is like going four hours without a meal” and making another tacky comment comment about pizza, according to NBC Sports Boston.
Maroon’s response? He donated $2,000 to Tampa Bay Thrives, a Florida-based nonprofit that helps people struggling with mental health, bullying and body image.
Maroon, 34, tweeted about his decision on Nov. 30, writing, “In support of those struggling with mental health, bullying and body image I am making a 2,000 donation in the name of @realjackedwards to @TampaBayThrives and I encourage @TBLightning and @NHLfans to join me.”
He included a link to help fans make the donations through the team’s community-minded nonprofit Lightning Foundation.
The foundation followed up by tweeting that it would match all donations made by Maroon and his fellow Lightning players.
Maroon’s charitable move was celebrated by hockey fans on Twitter.
“Legend. Pat as a big man I deal with this all the time and I appreciate the donation to help with men’s mental health. Much love patty,” one wrote.
“This is awesome and another reason the Big Rig is the best! Way to turn this into something meaningful!” wrote another.
Even a Toronto Maple Leafs fan couldn’t help heap praise on Maroon. “Ok, so I’m a Leafs fan so by the code I’m supposed to NOT be a fan of yours. All I can say is atta boy I love this move. Well done. Very well done indeed,” the fan wrote.
Sports journalist Sara Civ also lauded Maroon for taking a stand against bullying.
“Regardless of it the comments bother Pat or not, they just aren’t funny. You never know who is out there struggling and just didn’t need to hear that. No it’s not the most serious or awful thing ever said, but it just wasn’t cool. Maroon taking an opportunity to help is amazing,” she tweeted.
Maroon’s donation inspired at least one other hockey team to join the cause. The Carolina Hurricanes tweeted to ask fans to donate $19 each to the effort.
“We stand with @patmaroon in supporting those who struggle with mental health, bullying, and body image,” the team wrote. “We encourage #Canes fans to donate $19 out of spite for Jack Edwards.”
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