The New York Giants didn’t score any touchdowns on Sunday, so receiver Victor Cruz didn’t get the chance he wanted to point to the sky and do his trademark end-zone salsa dance in memory of a special fan. Cruz had handwritten messages to “My Hero” and “R.I.P. Jack Pinto” on his shoes and gloves. The parents of Jack Pinto, 6, one of the Newtown massacre victims, had told reporters that their little boy adored the Giants star receiver.
“I don’t even know how to put it into words,” Cruz said, when he heard about the Pinto family. “There are no words that can describe the type of feeling that you get when a kid idolizes you so much that unfortunately they want to put him in the casket with your jersey on. I can’t even explain it.”
The player phoned the family from the hotel in Atlanta where the team was staying. “As I was talking to them I was fighting back tears,” he told The Daily News. “You could hear everybody in the background crying as well. It was tough to listen to,” Cruz said. He spoke to Pinto’s sobbing 11-year-old brother. “He could barely speak to me. I was just talking to him, telling him to stay strong, to stay positive and I’m going to help the family any way I can,’’ Cruz said.
The Sandy Hook first-grader was buried on Monday in his #80 Giants jersey–the white version, like the one Cruz wears for away games.
On Tuesday, Cruz visited the family in Connecticut, said the NFL team’s press office. “Much love to the entire Pinto family,” Cruz tweeted. “Great people with huge hearts. I’m sorry again for your loss. Looking at life through a different lens.”
The shoe of New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz bears the words R.I.P. Jack Pinto in memory of one of the children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. (REUTERS/Tami Chappell)