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Anthony Rizzo Talks Parkland Visit, Says 'Some Type of Change Needs to Happen'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 19, 2018

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 17:  Anthony Rizzo #44 of the Chicago Cubs warms up before game three of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field on October 17, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo spoke about his decision to visit his hometown of Parkland, Florida, in the wake of the devastating school shooting that left 17 people dead, per Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com: 

"I thought the speech was important, to speak with the kids and families that were affected. I'm really proud to see what Parkland is doing and what the kids are doing and speaking out. And trying to make a difference. I stand behind my community.

"To be very clear I did not say the word 'gun' one time. Anyone out there who wrote I'm calling for gun control is very irresponsible. I did not say that once. I don't know enough about it. I don't know what needs to be done, but some type of change needs to happen for the better."

As Rogers noted, Rizzo is a graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where last week's horrific shooting took place. Rizzo said that he knew assistant football coach Aaron Feis, who was killed in the shooting while trying to save students.

"He's a true hero," Rizzo said. "He has this monster coming in, shooting up the school, and he jumps in front of kids and saves their lives."

Rizzo added that he doesn't have all the answers and is "just a baseball player," but stressed he feels some sort of change needs to occur in society to prevent these tragedies from continuing to happen.

"I said there needs to be change but I don't know what the change needs to be," he noted. "I think it's good for the kids to go out and show they have a voice. For them to be outspoken about it, it shows they're not going to sit back and be another statistic."

Rizzo also noted that he's become so accustomed to hearing about school shootings that he barely reacted when first learning about the latest one.

"When you first hear 'shooter,' I took my next golf swing," he admitted. "That's how numb our country is to it. ... My parents were one of the first homeowners in Parkland. I've seen that community grow into what it is now. It's crazy to see that happen at home."

According to Darran Simon of CNN.com, there have already been eight instances of shootings at schools in 2018.

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