NFL Players Reacting to Newtown Tragedy Bring out the Best in Sports

John Rozum@Rozum27Correspondent IDecember 21, 2012

The tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut cannot justifiably be described in words.

The NFL, though, took it upon itself to honor the victims throughout Week 15.

Certainly that was admirable because society does look to professional athletes for inspiration and influence. Given the horrific incident that occurred, the least we as people can see are the true emotional side of these athletes.

Without question do emotions of adrenaline and motivation take over throughout the course of a game. But thanks to things such as fantasy football, we sometimes lose sight of the emotional humane side these players possess.

We were reminded of that this past week.

Along with the entire league and fans from all over displaying heart-felt support for Newtown, there were also some individual players who went further.

In an article by Dan Duggan of the New York Times, Giants receiver Victor Cruz visited the family of Jack Pinto:

Cruz had promised to visit the family of Jack Pinto, a 6-year-old who was one of the victims of Friday’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 children and 6 adult staff members dead.

Cruz was struck to learn that Jack was buried in his replica jersey.

“You don’t know whether to say thank you. You don’t know whether to say you appreciate it,” Cruz said. “It leaves you kind of blank, but I’m definitely honored by it, and I’m definitely humbled by it.”

Just making a simple gesture of appearing can bring a small bit of positive to something unimaginable.

Tennessee Titans' running back Chris Johnson also made an honorable move during and after the Monday night game. According to the Associated Press via

Chris Johnson first wrote the names of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims on his cleats. Now the Titans running back has sent gifts to the family of Grace McDonnell after speaking with it by telephone.

"I kind of want to step back. ... I kind of did it for the kids and the family. I really don't want to make it about me," Johnson said.

When players and people do simple things such as what Cruz and Johnson did, it goes beyond description. We have to appreciate who these athletes are as people, because after all, that is who they are.

The Miami Dolphins did so as a team, according to CBS 4 in Miami:

The Miami Dolphins have sent a flower arrangement in memory of a far away fan who died tragically in last week’s Newtown, Connecticut school shooting.

Sandy Hook Elementary School psychologist Mary Sherlach rooted for the team.

The human element in sports is what makes competition great. It's also what brings everyone back to reality, as these guys are literally just like the rest of the nation. Obviously, in terms of socioeconomics there is a disparity, but money itself won't ever be anything more than materialistic.

It's the impact made, though, that becomes the most important and genuine.

When we see a player giving a full on effort, regardless of the score, it always speaks greater volumes to the country. That small amount of competitive nature in refusing to give up is a real-life metaphor for life.

Although the realm of sports, especially pro football, is an escape from reality, there's no denying the impact on our lives. Combine that with the NFL honoring Newtown's victims and families, and we see two vastly different worlds blend together.

(Video credit: Jeremie Smith, Foxborough Patch)

A game, a kid's game, played by grown men not only takes everyone briefly away from the hardships of life, but emits as a positive influence to society. This is why actions such as those from the NFL, Cruz and Johnson warrant the utmost of recognition.

Those directly affiliated with the sport are human, and they possess emotions off the field just like any other person.


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