Washington’s Ron Rivera Is Turning Up His Advocate Voice


Washington Football Team’s head coach, Ron Rivera, has a looming physical presence coupled with a quiet demeanor. Those are a few of the qualities which make him stand out.

But lately, Rivera is emphasizing a new part of his character.

His voice.

Football fans know that coach Rivera is a cancer survivor. Almost a year ago to the day, Washington’s coach was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, a form of cancer residing in a lymph node.

“I was stunned,” said Rivera, 58, at the time in an interview with ESPN. “But I was angry because I feel like I’m in best health I’ve been in.”

But instead of dwelling on the diagnosis or feeling sorry for himself, Rivera took action. He went in for treatment, never missed a game and led the team to a division title.

When he finally rang the bell, it was like he was signaling to the world that he was both cancer-free and a new man.

And that’s what he became.

Ron Rivera is now, contrary to his former quiet demeanor, opening his mouth on issues of great importance. This includes the current debate around, and foolish politicization by some of, Covid vaccinations.

As a cancer survivor, it’s a situation that affects him personally.

“As a person, I’ve become a little more of an advocate on things,” said Rivera in an interview with Sports Illustrated. “I’ve sensed and feel like I speak up a little bit more on some things. Like the medical issue—to me, it’s the craziest thing that we’re the richest country in the world and we don’t have affordable health care for everybody, that we have a health-care system that’s broken.”

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