Dont like Peter King either, but this is the beginning of his MMQB column. I now wish the Giants would have won Sunday. Great read.
In my job, athletes are not very good interviews after 34-0 losses. They don't want to talk after 34-0 losses. They will find every excuse not to pick up the phone after 34-0 losses. But Sunday was different. Victor Cruz is different. This weekend was different, around the country and certainly within a short drive from Newtown, Conn., where 20 elementary school children and six women charged with teaching and protecting them were murdered.
"When I heard about the shootings,'' Cruz said from Atlanta, "I was just fighting back tears. I couldn't stop, all [Friday] night. I took my [11-month-old] daughter, grabbed her, and held her, and she slept with me Friday night. I didn't want to let her go. I don't know ... You drop your child off at school. A routine dropoff, parents do it every day. And this happens, and what can you do.''
The Giants and their ace wide receiver, Cruz, went to Atlanta to play a football game. In the hotel Saturday night, Cruz kept noticing messages on his Twitter feed. All were about someone named Jack Pinto. "Fifty, 100 tweets, right in a row, people wanting me to get in touch with the Pinto family,'' Cruz said. He found out young Jack Pinto, 6, was one of those murdered in Newtown, and Jack was a huge Victor Cruz fan, and so he asked his girlfriend and publicist, Elaina Watley, to try to find the Pintos' phone number in Newtown, and she did. At 10 p.m. Saturday, here he was, on the phone with the father, Dean Pinto, and then Jack's brother Benjamin, and then Dean again.
The conversations weren't long, because no one could talk very well.
"The father was taken aback that the message got to me,'' Cruz said. "I told him I was going to do whatever I could to honor Jack. And Jack's brother, he was very emotional, fighting back tears. He barely got any words out.''
On Sunday morning, Cruz wrote on Twitter: "Today's game is for you Jack.''
On one shoe, Cruz wrote in black Sharpie: "Jack Pinto My Hero." On the other, "RIP Jack Pinto."
Falcons 34, Giants 0. Cruz wishes he, and the team, could have played better. But when the family says a murdered boy may be buried in his jersey, and all Cruz wants to do is anything to make them feel better, the game is a game. Now Cruz will do something, privately, he hopes, this week for the family.
"I just want to go down there and help any way I can, if I can,'' Cruz said quietly. "It's hard to know what to do. You just have to put your faith in God and pray."
There is no way to segue to football without seeming totally crass, so forgive me. Before I do, praise to the Giants, in Atlanta, and the Jets tonight, in Nashville, for remembering Sandy Hook Elementary School on their helmets. And to the Patriots, New England's team, for the Newtown helmet decals (right), and for sending up 26 flares honoring the school victims during a prolonged moment of silence before their game with the 49ers.
It's hard to know what to do.