Carolina Panthers kicker Graham Gano has joined the chorus of athletes who are showing support for a Tennessee boy who posted a heart-wrenching video of being taunted by bullies on a daily basis.
On Friday, Keaton Jones of Knoxville, Tennessee, described the painful ordeal to his mother Kimberly in a Facebook video, where he breaks down in tears.
The video of his experience at school quickly went viral, amassing to more than 21 million views and hundreds of shares on Facebook since it was published, prompting athletes and celebrities to speak out on behalf of the boy.
Gano sent out a tweet about the bullying case on Sunday, before the Panthers’ win over the Minnesota Vikings.
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“I don’t know why kids think it’s ok to pick on and make fun of other kids,” Gano said. “There no place for it at all. Watching this (video) breaks my heart. Be positive role models for kids in your life and encourage them to stand up for others as well.”
Gano’s tweet got 1,016 retweets, 3,700 likes and dozens of comments of support as of early Monday morning. Among the comments was one from a fan who suggested sending Panther Julius Peppers to school with the boy for a day. “Bet it won’t happen again,” the fan tweeted.
Celebrities across the country have come out in support of the boy, including actors Mark Hamill, Chris Evans and Mark Ruffalo. Rapper Snoop Dog who wrote on Instagram: “Say lil Man U gotta friend in me for life hit...love is the only way to beat hate.”
Kimberly Jones recorded the video shortly after picking up her son from school, because he was too afraid and upset to go to lunch. In the video, he describes having milk poured on him and being called ugly for the head scars left from a tumor operation, reported Deadline.com.
“Just out of curiosity, why do they bully?” he asks in the video. “What’s the point of it? Why do you find joy in taking innocent people and finding a way to be mean to ’em? It’s not okay. It’s not okay! People that are different don’t need to be criticized about it. It’s not their fault.”
The boy also says: “They make fun of my nose. They call me ugly. They say I have no friends.”