At age 6, Jack Pinto was a huge New York Giants fan -- and wide receiver Victor Cruz was one of his favorite players in the NFL. Tragically, Pinto was among the 20 innocent children killed in the massacre in Newtown, Conn. when a deranged shooter opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School last week.
During the Giants game against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, Cruz paid tribute to 6-year-old Jack in a big way. On one cleat, Cruz wrote "Jack Pinto, My Hero," according to the New York Daily News. On the other cleat, he wrote "R.I.P. Jack Pinto." Finally, on his gloves, Cruz wrote "Jack Pinto This One is 4 U!"
New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz wears a tribute to one of the shooting victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School ion his shoes for the game against the Atanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia, Sunday, December 16, 2012. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/MCT)
Following the game, Cruz explained the touching tribute in an interview with the Daily News.
“There are no words that can describe the type of feeling you get when a kid idolizes you so much that they want to, unfortunately, put him in a casket with your jersey on,” Cruz said. “I can’t even explain it.”
But Cruz's admiration for Pinto and his family led him to ask his fiancé and publicist, Elaina Watley, to track them down so he could personally offer his condolences.
"I definitely plan on giving my cleats and gloves to the family," Cruz told ESPN. "[I'm] going to try to head down there sometime this week. Just spend some time with them, talk to them a little bit, and get to know them a little bit. I wanted to go down there and pay my respects in person.”
“I told them to stay strong, and I’m going to do whatever I can to honor him,” Cruz told reporters.
The wide receiver may also set up a fundraiser in Pinto's name, the Los Angeles Times reports. Pinto's funeral is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Monday where the young child will reportedly be buried wearing Cruz's No. 80 Giants jersey.
(H/T: Huffington Post)