The New York Giants are the team geographically closest to Sandy Hook Elementary School, where the devastating shooting took place, taking the lives of 26 innocent children and adults. During Sunday's game at MetLife Stadium against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Giants will host many of those affected by the terrible tragedy.
Head coach Tom Coughlin addressed his team, informing them on who would be in attendance, and stressed how important it is to honor them by playing well.
"I spoke to the team [Friday] morning about that," Coughlin said. "What it really means to all of us is, we were so taken aback and so shocked and felt so badly for the families … not only the families of the children, but the principal, the school psychologist and the real heroes who knew exactly what was coming and still charged and attacked and knew what the outcome would be. It’s Giant country, and we know that. To have that group from the Sandy Hook Elementary School and the Newtown community come down for this game with Philadelphia, it means a great deal to us and we would certainly like to honor them."
The group will consist of nearly 400 students, family members and faculty. They will take part in a special pregame ceremony, which will include forming a path for the players to run through during their entrance from the team tunnel to the field. The guests of honor will also circle the field during the singing of the national anthem. A moment of silence will also be held in remembrance of the young lives lost.
"The best we can do is take each individual and play to the best of his ability and make a statement as a team as well. We’re not alone in our passion and empathy for this school and for their lost loved ones. I’m sure an entire country feels that way, but it’s special for us to have them here this weekend" Coughlin continued.
Several Giants players have taken it upon themselves to do what they can to help those affected. Wide receiver Victor Cruz traveled to Newtown to spend time with the family of six-year-old Jack Pinto, a huge Cruz fan, who was one of the students killed in the shooting.
"I think it’s great. I think it’s awesome," Cruz said. "I spoke to the Pinto family last week just to check up on them and see how they’re doing and they’re coming along well. They’re going to be at the game also. So I’m excited to see them again and I think it’s good for them to get away a little bit and spend some time on a Sunday afternoon watching some football and getting their minds off of things a little bit."
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