Giants To Host Sandy Hook Elementary Community At Sunday's Game

The Hartford Courant

The New York Giants will host more than 400 members of the Sandy Hook community directly affected by the tragic shooting of Dec. 14 on Sunday during the team's regular-season finale vs. the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium, the NFL team announced.

The Giants announced details in a press release Friday afternoon, saying they were expecting a at least 200 students and 200 parents, faculty and family members to attend. They will be escorted onto the field by 50 members of the Wounded Warriors veterans group, participate in a pregame ceremony and then watch the 1 p.m. game.

On the field, the group from Sandy Hook and the Wounded Warriors will form two lanes — one for each team — and the players will run through the lanes onto the field, the release said. Then the players, coaches, Sandy Hook residents and Wounded Warriors will form a circle for a moment of silence and the national anthem. The Giants are also providing bus transportation for the Newtown group.

At the team's media session on Friday, two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Tom Coughlin was asked what it meant to have the people from Newtown at the game.

"I spoke to the team this morning about that," Coughlin said in a transcript of the interview provided by the Giants. "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.

"To have that group come down for this game, it means a great deal to us and we would certainly like to honor them. 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."

Wide receiver Victor Cruz has a special role in this story. Cruz honored one of his youngest fans, 6-year-old victim Jack Pinto, by inscribing the little boy's name on his shoes for the team's game at Atlanta on Dec. 16. He later paid a private visit to Pinto's family.

When asked about the visit from 400 members of the community, Cruz said in the transcript: "I think it's great. I think it's awesome. 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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