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Report: Joakim Noah drops his six-shooter celebration in wake of Newtown shootings

The tragedy that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last week has had a ripple effect through the entire sports world. We’ve seen numerous examples of athletes doing what they can to pay tribute to the victims, and Joakim Noah continued that recently in a different kind of way.

While players like Victor Cruz paid tribute to a particular young boy and Chris Johnson wrote the names of all 26 victims on his cleats before Monday Night Football, Noah has decided to drop the six-shooter routine he does after hitting a jump shot.

“You can’t joke around with things like that,” Noah said after posting a triple-double in a win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, via NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner. “Too many people are dying because of guns. We have a problem here with guns. So just trying to be a little bit compassionate about what’s going on.

“It’s what happened in Connecticut. That was shocking to a lot of people. But things like this have been going on. We have a serious problem with that in Chicago. It’s crazy, man. You just hear about this summer, a movie theater. It’s just happening all the time. It’s horrible. … This gun thing in this country is no joke.”

In the same way we did with Jim Boeheim when he advocated for stricter gun laws after notching the 900th victory of his career, we applaud Noah for his awareness. On the surface, his little celebration routine may seem harmless. But anything a star athlete can do — or stop doing — to help call attention to an important issue needs to be done at a time like this. Good for Noah for knowing when to show some sensitivity, even if it means losing a trademark.

H/T Ball Don’t Lie
Photo credit: Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE

Chris Johnson writes names of Newtown victims on his cleats (Picture)

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Chris Johnson was touched by the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., last Friday, and he is doing what he can to remember and honor the victims.

The Tennessee Titans running back wrote the names of the mass shooting victims on his cleats for Monday night’s game against the New York Jets.

“It’s just such a sad, sad situation. I wanted those people to know that we’re thinking about them,” Johnson told ESPN’s Lisa Salters. “I’m a parent, and my heart just goes out to them.”

Johnson is following athletes like Kevin Durant and LeBron James who had similar tributes over the weekend. We admire the gestures by all of them.

In addition to the tributes, it’s just as important for these players and others to advocate for ways to avoid such massacres. We need to be talking about increased gun control and ways to handle mentally ill people who present a danger to society so that this doesn’t happen again.

Photo via Chris Johnson/Twitter

Victor Cruz pays tribute to Sandy Hook victim Jack Pinto with cleats (Picture)

Victor-Cruz-Jack-Pinto-cleat

Like many other players across the NFL, Victor Cruz played Sunday’s game with an incredibly heavy heart. People all across the nation have felt the impact of the tragic shooting that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. on Friday, and the New York Giants wide receiver was no exception.

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Miami Heat players hold moment of silence with their children (Video)

lebron-james-sonsThe Miami Heat held a moment of silence prior to Saturday’s game against the Wizards to recognize those who were murdered in Friday’s massacre in Newtown, Conn., and they added a personal touch.

Many of the Heat players were joined by their children for the moment of silence as a way to show how personally connected they felt to the tragedy.

“Very emotional time,” LeBron James said after the game. “(Dwyane) Wade brought [the idea] up. We all thought it would be the best thing to do. Not taking anything for granted, knowing that we have our family still. Very emotional time and to have our kids out there was great.”

“The team is very close, and we all have kids. So everyone’s affected by it,” added Wade.

James told reporters before the game that a horrific event like that places life in perspective.

“Basketball, this is nothing,” James said. “These games are nothing compared to when you have a tragedy like that. It sucks that sometimes you need a tragedy to put things back in perspective, to appreciate what you have. But it does that to people. It’s unfortunate that you have to have something like that to understand what’s really important and some things that aren’t important at all. Family is the No. 1 important thing in life.”

Wade and James, who are the team’s leaders and among the most visible stars in the NBA, actively tweeted about the massacre on Friday:

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Kevin Durant supports Newtown with message on shoe (Picture)

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Friday was a day when a lot of lives ended, and many more were permanently altered. The massacre in Newtown, Conn., became the focus for most people in the country. On days like this, sports become a secondary thought to what’s most important in life — the people whom we love most.

Throughout the day, several athletes expressed their support for the victims and those dealing with the fallout of the mass shooting. Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant took his support a step further by writing “Newtown CT” on his shoe for Friday night’s game against the Sacramento Kings.

It was a thoughtful gesture by one of the league’s classier players, and it shows that Durant has something many others lack: awareness.

Durant finished with 31 points in Oklahoma City’s 113-103 win.

Photo via Thunder/Instagram
H/T Nate Jones

A few thoughts on the Connecticut massacre

The tragedy that took place in Connecticut is the biggest story in America and on the minds of most people in the country. We are sickened, ashamed, and saddened about the mass shooting, and we have some thoughts on the horrific ordeal that we feel are important to discuss.

First, our thoughts are with those who were killed in the shooting massacre. We have a difficult time comprehending why anyone would go on a shooting rampage, but it’s particularly disturbing and sickening that someone would turn fire on a bunch of kindergarten children. These are children who just began their lives, and who had no way of actually motivating someone to kill them. How someone saw fit to murder several children is beyond comprehension.

We offer our sincerest sympathies and condolences to the families, friends, and everyone affected by the shooting. I cannot even imagine what kind of trust and faith any child who attends Sandy Hook Elementary School may have lost as a result of being a part of such an awful incident.

What’s also disturbing is that there is a highly alarming pattern of mass shootings in this country. From Columbine in 1999, to Virginia Tech in 2007, to this — and that’s leaving out the Aurora, Colo., and recent shootings in Oregon — it’s pretty clear that the US has a cultural and societal problem on its hands. The perpetrators of these shootings obviously have major mental issues. Are we as a society that is not offering these alienated, psychotic killers the proper help they need? Are we ignoring them? Are we not catching the signs of potential destruct early enough? Do we glorify mass murderers and shooting sprees through our media coverage or things like video games and movies? I don’t have the answers to these questions, but I do believe there is something wrong in the US that has led to some of these incidents that you just don’t see as frequently around the world. These are some of the issues that should be discussed.

Another major issue is our gun control. The issue came to the forefront when Bob Costas and Jason Whitlock turned the murder-suicide of Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher into such a debate. Thankfully they did. The country needs more gun control. It’s obvious that we do. We are given many freedoms in America, and that is what makes the country beautiful. But when those freedoms are violated enough, changes are needed. Sacrifices need to be made by individuals in order to help ensure the safety of everyone else.

Yes, there will always be ways to get guns and, yes, there will be violence and killings, but if we have the ability to reduce those amounts in order to help make things safer for the masses, then we should. To those who oppose stronger gun control measures, I say take one for the team. Temporary moments of insanity have far less permanent effects when guns are not present.

Lastly, the news coverage of Friday’s horrific killings was disgraceful. News outlets, following CNN’s lead, reported that Ryan Lanza was the killer and the one who killed himself. That story was later changed and it was reported that Adam was the shooter.

Some outlets reported that the father was killed at home before the shooter went to the elementary school. Others reported that the mother was killed at home.

A CBS reporter said Adam Lanza was born in 1997, which would make him 15, even though every other outlet said he was 20 years old.

In all these situations, clearly someone was wrong.

It’s a true wonder how major news outlets can possibly get such critical pieces of information wrong. How can you confuse the public like that? If you don’t know the facts of such important details, don’t report anything.

One of the biggest problems during sensitive times like these is that there is a dangerous hunger to be first. The hunger to be first on TV in order to get more viewers, and to be first to publish a story on the web in order to get that incredible placement with search engines, causes many websites and outlets to hastily disseminate false, poorly researched, and often misleading information. News organizations and the leaders of media outlets need to clamp down and make sure they are only presenting accurate information, not speculation during such sensitive periods. Think for a moment about what’s more important: Getting an extra couple thousand hits and viewers, or not sullying the wrong person’s name and personal information?

Even individuals who have social media accounts need to be careful about what information they share. Individuals were sharing erroneous Twitter and Facebook accounts of the alleged people involved. This is a reminder to active social media users: Before you blindly retweet or share something via Facebook, give it a second thought and investigate yourself.

Many of these news outlets also need to have a soul. It is an absolute disgrace for some of these TV stations to have their reporters badger young children in order to broadcast interviews. Nobody needs the comments of 5 and 6-year-old children. What does that do to enhance or further the story? And why put them on TV? Use some judgment as a person and have some human decency. Sometimes it’s not about “doing your job.” I didn’t go to journalism school, I don’t know what these reporters and news directors are taught, but I do know right from wrong. Interviewing young children on TV after something like this is wrong. That is a practice that needs to stop.