( 4UMF NEWS ) Victor Cruz Honors Sandy Hook Victim:
The Giants paid tribute to all of the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting on Sunday. But for Victor Cruz, his tribute was personal.
The Giants’ star receiver wore the name “Jack Pinto” on his cleats and gloves during the Giants’ tough, 34-0 in Atlanta in honor of a six-year-old boy killed during the mass school shooting on Friday morning. Cruz called Jack’s family after learning he was a huge fan of Cruz and the Giants.
Jack was such a big fan of Cruz that his family is even considering burying him in Cruz’s No. 80 Giants jersey, Cruz said. “It was very humbling to hear how big of a fan he was and how they were thinking about putting my jersey on him for the services,” Cruz said. “It was an emotional time. It really shows you what type of effect that athletes have on kids. Not just seeing you on TV. They want to be you. They idolize you. They wear your jersey everywhere.
“It really showed me how real it is to be a role model. It was definitely humbling for sure.”
Cruz honored Jack by writing the words “Jack Pinto, My Hero” on one of his cleats and “R.I.P. Jack Pinto” on the other. On the back of his gloves, he wrote “Jack Pinto This one is 4 U.!” He said he planned to give the cleats and the gloves to the family and even hopes to visit them this week, “to spend some time with them and talk to them a little bit and get to know them a little bit more.”
“When a family is facing that much tragedy,” Cruz added, “you want to be someone that inspires them and can put a smile on their face in a time where it’s tough to do that.”
The Giants tried to do that for everyone affected by the horrific murder that left 26 dead, including 20 children. They all played Sunday with the initials “S.H.E.S.” — for Sandy Hook Elementary School – hand-written with a Sharpie on the back of their helmets. Tom Coughlin wore the letters on his hat, too.
The Giants also held a moment of silence for the victims at the team meeting on Saturday night. And there was no doubt the tragedy was on their mind.
“We were all saddened by the events that happened in Newton, Conn.,” Coughlin said. “And I felt terrible about it and I’m sure everyone in the nation did as well. And for it to happen so close to home, the players were very upset about it. When you have players that have young children, they could empathize with the parents of the young children that were killed.
“There was no one that could escape, and no way it couldn’t affect everyone.”