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The Caw: That Time Tony Jefferson Stuck Up For A Bullied Kid

Posted Mar 17, 2017

When Zachary Bartik was being bullied at his new middle school in Pennsylvania, he reached out to Tony Jefferson on Facebook for help. Jefferson messaged the bullies, the problem went away and he and Zachary became pen pals.

Zachary Bartik doesn’t remember exactly why he chose Tony Jefferson as the person to reach out to for help, but he does remember how surprised he was by Jefferson’s answer.

Bartik was 14 or so years old and was the new kid at school in Cataasauqua, Penn., about an hour north of Philadelphia near Allentown. He had recently moved there from Baltimore, where he had become a huge Ravens fan.

Being the new kid is tough, and Bartik had it especially rough. One day as he was walking home from school, kids called him names and threw rocks at him.

“I was the kind of kid that would help anybody or do anything for people,” Bartik said. “They just didn’t like me because I was the new kid.”

One night, Bartik went on Facebook and sent a message to Jefferson, who was still playing at the University of Oklahoma at the time. Bartik said he had seen Jefferson play on TV.

“I didn’t think he was going to respond,” Bartick said. “He messaged the kids and shut down the problem immediately.”

Now, years later, Bartick still has the screengrabs and still very much remembers Jefferson’s help.

“It was incredible,” Bartick said. “I’m still amazed to this day. Something like that, you don’t see a lot of that in today’s world. He’s an amazing player and an amazing dude, period.”

Bartik graduated high school and works at a nearby Walmart. And now that Jefferson is in purple andye black, he’s an even bigger Ravens fan.

“When they signed him, I was like, ‘Yessss! Yessss!’” he said. “I’ll be honest, I was jumping up for joy.”

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