Professional Athletes and Fans Honor Newtown Shooting Victims
The New York Jets will honor the Sandy Hook Elementary School victims on Monday night with special decals when they take the field in Tennessee.
The Connecticut shooting hit close to home for many in the Tri-State area and beyond. Some teams gathered together their children on the sidelines during NFL games this weekend to remember the 20 children who lost their lives on Friday while other teams held moments of silence and held special ceremonies to honor the victims. Certain players paid tribute on their shoes, uniforms and gear.
Here’s a look back at how some pro athletes honored the memories of the Newtown victims:
Durant’s tribute came on his Nike sneaker where he wrote “Newtown, CT” before the Thunder’s game against the Sacramento Kings Friday night. Durant tweeted his condolences earlier in the day. After the game, the star forward said, “I’ve got family members that young. Just to see kids that really couldn’t do nothing for themselves, couldn’t protect themselves and for their lives to be taken away and for their parents to go through stuff like that, that’s the least I could do.”
There was perhaps no athlete more prominently attached to the aftermath of the shootings than Cruz, who added his own tribute to the Giants’ decals. Jack Pinto, a 6-year-old victim was reportedly a big Giants’ fan and rooted for Cruz in particular. So Cruz suited up with Pinto’s name written out on his gloves and cleats for the Giants’ game against Atlanta. Pinto’s parents plan to bury Jack in Cruz’s No. 80 Giants jersey. The receiver will drive to Connecticut to give the family the gloves and cleats to honor Jack’s memory.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Prior to Sunday night’s game against the 49ers, New England arranged for a moment of silence, as did all other home NFL teams on Sunday, and shot a flare for each of the 26 victims. The Patriots also wore special decals on the backs of their helmets. Perhaps most significant was what was not there — the team removed the muskets from their “End Zone Militia” who routinely fire into the air to celebrate scores. “It just doesn’t show the right respect for those that lost their lives,” said the group’s sergeant. “But we’re still here cheering (the Patriots) on.”
The Miami Heat held a moment of silence Saturday night prior to their match-up with the Washington Wizards. The players’ children joined their fathers on the court for the moment, an idea hatched by Dwyane Wade. It added a personal touch to the moment. “These games are nothing compared to when you have a tragedy like that. It sucks that sometimes you need a tragedy to put things back in perspective, to appreciate what you have,” said LeBron James afterward.
Doc Rivers and Byron Scott spoke on behalf of others inside the NBA community in the official statement that the NBA put out. While the games went on as planned on Friday and through the weekend, it was important to take a step back and remember, as Rivers put it, “This is a game we play; that’s real life.”