The shootings in Newtown, Conn. on Friday did not have a direct connection to sports. However, the tragedy generated a lot of reaction among athletes and coaches, some thoughtful, some touching.
Jack Pinto was a New York Giants fan. The six-year-old’s favorite player was wide receiver Victor Cruz. Pinto was buried in a Cruz jersey. According to the New York Post, Cruz spent three hours visiting with Pinto family Tuesday in their home. Cruz kept the gathering low-profile, sending one tweet after he left: “Much love to the entire Pinto family. Great people with huge hearts. Looking at life through a different lens.”
The Providence College men’s basketball team offered a number of tributes to the victims Tuesday night during a home game against Colgate. Rhode Island and Connecticut share a border and Friars head coach Eddie Collins used to coach at Fairfield University, which is near Newtown. The team traded its normal black and white uniforms for the Sandy Hook Elementary School’s colors: green and white. The back of every jersey had “Sandy Hook” where the player’s last name would normally appear.
According to Yahoo!, Providence College also hung a banner over 26 empty seats that read “Newtown, Connecticut: We Have You In Our Thoughts and Prayers.”
The University of Connecticut has established a scholarship fund for siblings of children killed in the shootings, dependents of adult victims, and any of the students currently attending Sandy Hook Elementary. UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma and his wife, Kathy, helped launch the fund with an $80,000 donation.
In the NBA, Joakim Noah announced he was changing his own on-court tradition. Noah had been in the habit of making his hands into pistols and “firing” them after making big jump shots, but the Chicago Bulls center announced Tuesday that he was ending the celebration. According to a report by NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner, Noah told reporters, “You can’t joke around with things like that.”