Steelers fan who gave Terrible Towel to Ray Rice revealed

Published On: Dec 14 2012 06:54:09 AM HST

Lifelong Steelers fan Cody Yocca gave Ray Rice the Terrible Towel that was later seen draped over Rice's head, drawing the wrath of other Pittsburgh fans. But the Plum man says it's all out of respect. 

PLUM, Pa. -

Cody Yocca stands by the decision to trade his beloved Terrible Towel to Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, even though it's earning him the wrath of fellow members of Steeler Nation.

"I just feel like this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and why not do it?," the Plum native told WTAE's Kelly Brennan.

The towel was seen draped over Rice's head in a now-infamous picture that linebacker LaMarr Woodley tweeted after Baltimore beat the Steelers at Heinz Field last month. Now, Yocca is coming forward as the person who crossed enemy lines and gave Rice the towel.

"Ray was coming over, and he asked a bunch of the fans that were sitting there, you know, 'Someone throw me a Terrible Towel and I'll give you a pair of gloves,' and no one was budging," Yocca said. "So I was like, 'All right, why not? Here you go.' He came over, gave me his gloves -- real nice guy, said he was real appreciative, as was I, so it was pretty cool."

Their postgame exchange carried over to Twitter, as Yocca tweeted, "ray you gave me your gloves for a terrible towel tonight can I get a shout out??," and Rice responded with, "yessir respect bro 1 love always."

"I've always respected him as a player, but actually getting to talk to him for that brief moment, I respect him more as a person," Yocca said.

Not all Steelers fans share the same understanding, and they aren't shy about expressing it.

"I was catching a lot of slack from my buddies on the way back to the car, but I think they would've done the same thing," Yocca said. "A bunch of people that I don't even know, some of them come up to me in the neighborhood -- 'You're not a Steelers fan,' blah, blah, blah. Or on social networks, they're saying burn them, get rid of them."

Setting the record straight once and for all, Yocca says he's a Steelers fan until death. "But I feel that I did Steeler Nation a little favor by giving him the towel. We won the week after that," he said, laughing.

In a Baltimore Sun interview, Rice was quoted as saying he meant no disrespect by putting the towel on his head and explained that he has been collecting items from each game, and he cherishes the Steelers-Ravens rivalry: "I respect this rivalry. I respect their organization. It's not like you're going to catch me on YouTube burning a Terrible Towel. I'll keep it in my basement, and when I get to grow up and my time is done, you get to look back on these moments."

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