New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz plans to drive to nearby Newtown, Conn., this week to give the grieving Pinto family the cleats and gloves he wore in Sunday’s game in honor of 6-year-old shooting victim Jack Pinto.
He wants to be with them during this difficult time, “just get to know them.”
“That’s just the kind of guy Vic is,” Giants’ General Manager Jerry Reese said.
Pinto, who was a big fan of Cruz, was one of 20 children and six adults gunned down at the Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday. It was one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.
There are several reports that Pinto might be buried wearing a Giants’ No. 80 jersey.
“What do you even say?” Cruz said.
The Atlanta Falcons shut out the Giants, 34-0. It doesn’t matter. It’s just a game.
It was more important for Cruz to pay tribute to the child that idolized him.
“It was emotional. I was fighting back tears to do it,” Cruz said. “It felt good to honor a family that was going through so much and perhaps to think that messages go out to these athletes — and some athletes just brush them off — so it felt good to be one of the athletes that listened to that family and did something to pay tribute to them. It felt special.”
Cruz heard about Pinto on Twitter. He had his fiancée, Elaina Watley, contact the Pinto family and asked if they wanted to speak to him. Cruz called the family Saturday night.
The Pinto’s told Cruz that Jack would sit in front of the television during every Giants game, wearing his No. 80 jersey.
Cruz said he could hear the sobbing in the background as they spoke.
Then the Pinto’s put Jack’s 11-year-old brother on the phone.
“He couldn’t say much, just that I was his brother’s favorite player,” Cruz said. “He was fighting tears. I was just telling him to stay strong, to stay positive, and that I’ll help the family anyway that I can.”
Cruz’s visit with the Pinto family will mean so much to them.
Duncan Steel | Elite.