All NFL teams playing this Sunday and Monday have been asked by the league to pause for a moment of remembrance before their games to honor the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, and at least two teams geographically close to the tragedy will mark the occasion with logos and handwritten initials on their helmets.
"This shocking event has brought the nation together in grieving for the victims and their families as well as the survivors," the league memo read. "We believe it is appropriate and important for us to collectively recognize and participate in the grieving process at our games this weekend, as we have done on other occasions."
The New York Giants, who play the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome, will wear "S.N.E.S." on the backs of their helmets, representing Sandy Hook Elementary School. Newtown, Conn. is about 80 miles northeast of New York City.
The New England Patriots, whose Foxboro, Mass. headquarters are approximately 150 miles northeast of the little town, will send off 26 flares before their Sunday evening game against the San Francisco 49ers at Gillette Stadium. The tribute was reported by Rich Eisen of the NFL Network. The Patriots will also wear these decals on their helmets:
Like everyone else in America and across the world, NFL players, coaches, and other personnel were and are deeply affected by what has happened. Giants tight end Martellus Bennett expressed some particularly moving thoughts via his Twitter account.
We can talk about changing the world in a positive way everyday and not see results. The change starts within. Be the change you wish to see.
Everyday i [wake] up with the intentions to learn, to become better, to inspire, to learn as much as possible to be educated enough to make a difference. And I'm still learning.
It's bigger than football. It's about dreaming, encouraging, inspiring, imagining, loving, learning. Tackling the hate. Catching the love. Scoring in real life by encouraging change. Becoming a better person.
All I'm saying is be what you want to see in the world. Treat others how you want to be treated. Love instead of hate. Share instead of take. Hope for the hopeless. Dream for the dreamless. Encourage the discouraged. Instead of pointing at the person that is down open up your hand and help 'em up. Dust 'em off and say try again or it's ok keep pushing good things will come.
I will continue to gain knowledge so that i am smart enough to help out my peers. I expect the same from you guys. Let's step it up. And i apologize for not being knowledgeable enough yet to make a huge impact on the world, but i promise you i will.