Sports world shaken by Connecticut school shooting
Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant wrote "Newtown CT" on both of his shoes. Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott struggled with his composure as he talked about the tragedy. Boston Celtics star Kevin Garnett called it "a tough day."
The school shooting in Connecticut hit close to home for several sports stars, and they extended their condolences over social media websites such as Twitter. Some were visibly shaken as they went about their business on Friday night, and the NFL asked each of its teams to observe a moment of silence before this weekend's games.
"I'm all over the place. Today's been a crazy day," Garnett said following a 101-89 loss at Houston. "I just want to say that my condolences go out to the families that are in Connecticut. Anybody that has kids, a niece, any kind of siblings or any kind of someone that they love, it's just been a tough day. I just wanted to get it off my chest and say my condolences go out to all the parents out there. ... It's been an emotional roller-coaster today."
A man killed his mother at their home and then opened fire inside an elementary school, slaying 26 people, including 20 children. The 20-year-old killer, carrying two handguns, committed suicide at the school.
"It's a sad day. ... It has impacted all of us," Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "I got kids, who we take for granted waking them up and sending them to school. It's just a tragedy."
Scott paused a couple of times as he talked about what happened in Newtown, a small community about 60 miles northeast of New York City.
"I have three healthy kids and a beautiful granddaughter," he said. "When you hear about kids who are that young and don't get a chance to live because of something that's so senseless as somebody going in and doing the things that this person did, I think it affects everybody. It puts everything in the right perspective as well. As much as we love this game, this doesn't mean nothing."
From the full slate of NBA games to high school and college football finals, there were moments of silences at sporting events of all sizes. The overhead videoboard at the Barclays Center showed a candle and the town seal of Newtown as the Nets and Pistons paused for reflection before their game in Brooklyn.
"I wish I could do more," Durant said of the message on his shoes. "But it hit me really hard. It's tough to see, especially kids that couldn't do anything for themselves. Words can't even describe it. I'm kind of at a loss for words right now."
The NFL sent a memo asking for each of its teams to observe a moment of silence before this weekend's games.
"This shocking event has brought the nation together in grieving for the victims and their families as well as the survivors," the note read. "We believe it is appropriate and important for us to collectively recognize and participate in the grieving process at our games this weekend, as we have done on other occasions."
The NFL dealt with a shooting tragedy a couple weeks ago when Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend before committing suicide in a parking lot at Arrowhead Stadium. Then Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Josh Brent was charged with intoxication manslaughter on Dec. 8 after he flipped his car in a pre-dawn accident that killed teammate Jerry Brown.
Many athletes took to social media websites to process what happened in Connecticut, discussing their shock and horror, and openly worrying about their kids at school.
"Innocent victims just gone," Miami Heat star LeBron James said in a series of posts on Twitter. "This is really messing with my mind. Kids is everything to me! And of course i have 2 of my own in elementary school as well. I can't imagine it happening to my kids school. I and the rest of the families would be devastated! Something has to be done."
Golfer John Daly talked about home schooling his children, and outspoken Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe wondered about the road ahead.
"The way we deal with this tragedy in CT will tell us a lot about where we're headed as a society. Do we only address the symptoms (i.e. just gun control laws)? Or do we also address the disease — how we treat each other and those who need help," Kluwe said in a couple of posts on Twitter.
There also was some anger.
Montreal Canadiens captain Brian Gionta tweeted: "Not sure if there is anything lower than harming innocent children." He ended the tweet with a hashtag of "coward," then was critical of the media interviewing young children outside the school.
"At some point, we've got to get past bureaucracy and all the nonsense and do something about this so our kids can be safe," said New Orleans Hornets coach Monty Williams, who has five children ranging in age from 2 to 14.
"If we can go to outer space and take care of trees and rivers and animals, we can do a better job of taking care of our kids. It's just a sad situation."