When Los Angeles Rams players woke on Thursday morning, it was to the terrible news that the nation’s latest mass shooting had been carried out just a few miles from their practice facility, in a city, Thousand Oaks, numerous players have also chosen to call home.
Among them is veteran offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth, a team captain who lives in Thousand Oaks with his wife and four children.
Whitworth takes the lead
At the Rams’ facility, Whitworth quickly took the lead with teammates, looking to find a way to help the community.
Whitworth’s contribution is already more than words: via Jay Glazer of The Athletic, he’s donating this week’s paycheck, about $60,000, to help the families of those killed and other victims.
In the early-morning hours, as he learned of what happened, the 36-year-old Whitworth tweeted that he was “heart broken” but didn’t have words he felt could help.
Addressed teammates, media
Later, after addressing teammates at a team meeting, Whitworth and other players met with media.
“As a group, everyone’s affected in a different way. Whether it’s the fear of having your own kids that could be involved in something like that, if it’s the fear of just being in that environment yourself or just living somewhere where something like that’s happened,” Whitworth said.
“You always think it’s never going to be around you or involve you, but you always see that from people once you experience it. I think we just wanted to find a way to come together and really just wrap our arms around the community that we live in and that we operate and work in.”
Not first time Whitworth has addressed teammates after tragedy
Unfortunately, this situation isn’t entirely new to Whitworth: in 2009, he was a fourth-year player with the Cincinnati Bengals when one of the team’s receivers, Chris Henry, died after falling off the back of a pickup truck in December of that season.
Whitworth helped keep the Bengals together in the wake of the team’s loss.
Rams coach Sean McVay said he and Whitworth spoke throughout the day on Thursday, and that the team will announce plans for the Borderline Bar and Grill victims and the Thousand Oaks community.
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