The professional sports world joined the rest of America this past weekend in grieving over Friday’s tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman took the lives of 20 students and six school staff members before turning the gun on himself.
Hours after the tragic events unfolded, ESPN, based in Bristol, Conn., ordered its staff to stop tweeting about sports until noon on Sunday, according to emails obtained by Deadspin.com. By Friday afternoon, flags at ESPN’s Bristol headquarters were flying at half-staff, this photo from ESPN’s Front Row blog shows.
By Friday night, National Basketball Association players were already paying tribute to the victims of the Sandy Hook killings. Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant wrote “NEWTOWN CT” on the shoes that he wore during Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings, while other players, including reigning league Most Valuable Player LeBron James, expressed their anguish on Twitter, as evidenced by this Storify compiled by ESPN.com’s Henry Abbott.
James’ team, the Miami Heat, held a moment of silence on Saturday before tipping off against the Washington Wizards. Many players were accompanied on court by their children, the Associated Press reports.
“Basketball, this is nothing,” James said before the game, according to the AP. “These games are nothing compared to when you have a tragedy like that.”
On Sunday, every National Football League home team held a moment of silence before the start of each game. NFL.com has a video recap of the tributes to the Newtown victims, which literally stretched from coast to coast.
The New York Jets and New York Giants wore decals on their helmets that read “S.H.E.S.” for Sandy Hook Elementary School, as you can see above. Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz went one step further, writing the name of six-year-old victim Jack Pinto on his cleats and gloves for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons, as detailed on NFL.com. Pinto was a Giants fan and his favorite player was Cruz, according to NFL.com.
ESPN.com’s Rachel Nichols reported that Cruz plans on driving to Newtown this week to give the cleats and gloves that he wore on Sunday to Pinto’s family.
The New England Patriots, likewise, wore black ribbon decals on their helmets in recognition of the victims during Sunday night’s game against the San Francisco 49ers. Before the start of the game, the Patriots sent up 26 flares, one at a time, to remember the 26 victims who perished on Friday.
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A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.