RONNIE STANLEY NAMED POLYNESIAN PRO FOOTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR
The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame announced that Baltimore Ravens Offensive Lineman, Ronnie Stanley has been selected as the 2019 recipient of the Polynesian Pro Football Player of the Year Award presented by Hawaiian Airlines.
The Polynesian Pro Football Player of the Year Award recognizes the most outstanding professional football player of Polynesian Ancestry. Seattle Seahawks Offensive Guard Mike Iupati was selected as the inaugural recipient in 2015, Tennessee Titans Quarterback Marcus Mariota was selected as the recipient in 2016, and Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was selected as the recipient in 2017 and 2018.
The 6-foot-6, 315-pound Stanley is of Tongan descent - his Mum Juli is Tongan and was born in Tonga. He is in his fourth season out of the University of Notre Dame. This year, Stanley helped lead the Baltimore Ravens to a 14-2 regular season record. He has given up no sacks and only 5 QB hurries throughout the season while leading the Ravens to the #1 ranked offense in the National Football League. He was selected as a First Team All-Pro and was also named to the Pro Bowl.
When in your life did you realize you’re half-Tongan, and what does your Tongan heritage mean to you?
I knew I was half-Tongan when I was pretty young. My parents did a really good job of introducing me, my little brother and my little sister to the culture. We went to a lot of family reunions with our Tongan side of the family. To be around them a lot as kids definitely normalized the heritage for us.
Do you get a lot of love from Tongan NFL fans?
For sure. I always get some type of tweet, or some message, from not just Tongan fans but Polynesian fans in general. It’s such a small group of people compared to other races in America. To see someone of that ethnicity playing football … they all support us because there’s only a handful of us.
You have a huge tattoo inspired by your Tongan heritage — what made you get it?
I always thought tribal tattoos were amazing. Just the detail, the pattern, the art, the symmetry. What I got was actually done by Haloti Ngata’s little brother. … In the middle, I have a big dove that’s on my grandma’s tombstone. I also have my mom’s name written in Tongan within the design. The rest of it is all traditional Tongan freehand. … It took like 13 hours, and I did it in one session.