‘Band of Brothers’ stands up for bullied water boy

Posted at 11:11 AM, Nov 25, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-25 13:11:14-05

By AJ Willingham

(HON) — Here’s a message to all the bullies out there: You don’t want to mess with the Bridgewater Badgers. The fifth-grade football team from Massachusetts recently made a fashionable show of support for their bullied water boy.

Danny Keefe, a first-grader, is much smaller and younger than the boys on the team, but he supports them with an undying spirit. He has a speech impediment due to a brain hemorrhage he survived as an infant, and he shows up to school every day in a jacket, tie, and fedora that sometimes make him look like a miniature Bear Bryant.

Because of his habits and the way he talks, Danny was being teased at school. When his team heard about it, they decided to step up and show the school what real sportsmanship looks like.

“We heard that Danny was getting picked on, so we thought we would have a day where we all dressed up like Danny and we thought we would all come to school like Danny … to show Danny that we love him,” Tommy Cooney, the Badgers quarterback, told HLN affiliate WCVB.

They called the gesture “Danny Appreciation Day.” The whole team — more than 40 young men — showed up at school in suits and ties last week, standing tall and proud behind their young friend. There were even a few fedoras on display as Danny and his sharp-dressed friends roamed the halls, emboldened by their show of friendship. The event earned them nationwide support and an apt nickname: The Band of Brothers.

The Massachusetts House of Representatives even honored the team with a special citation, and the whole team got together to celebrate their friendship at a banquet this week.

“One of their own was being picked on, and they stood up for him,” Head Coach Tom Cooney said at the team’s celebration. “That’s what football is all about.”

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