Giants' Victor Cruz Meets Jack Pinto's Family

19 December 2012
Giants' Victor Cruz Meets Jack Pinto's Family

New York Giants player Victor Cruz has travelled to Connecticut to meet with the family of a six-year-old boy killed in the Newtown school shooting.

For much of his hour-long visit with the family of Jack Pinto, Mr Cruz talked about football, life and young Jack, the child who idolised him.

Cleats and gloves worn by Mr Cruz to honour Jack at Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons were given to the family, who buried the young boy in the wide receiver's No. 80 jersey on Monday.

"You never go through some circumstances like this and circumstances where a kid faces or a family faces something of this magnitude at their school," said Mr Cruz, the father of an infant girl.

Mr Cruz had telephoned the family to ask whether he could visit them Tuesday.

The family disclosed after Friday's massacre that Mr Cruz was Jack's favourite player. The boy was one of 20 first-graders and six adults killed in the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Mr Cruz drove to Newtown with his girlfriend, Elaina Watley, and their daughter, Kennedy.

"I had no expectations. I was a little nervous," Mr Cruz said. "I just didn't know how I was going to be received. You never know when they are going through something like that. You never know how it is going to go down."

The Giants star had written "Jack Pinto, My Hero" and "R.I.P. Jack Pinto" on his cleats before the Giants' loss to the Falcons Sunday in Atlanta.

The 26-year-old player best known for his salsa dances after touchdowns, signed autographs for the children before heading inside the Pinto's home.

Mr Cruz spent that part of the visit sitting in the chair where Jack's father, Dean, sat when he watched the Giants' Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots in February.

It was a day Jack got to see his favour rite team win a championship.

"It was just an emotional time," Mr Cruz said. "I spent a little bit of time with them. We got to smile a little bit, which was good for them. It was a time where I just wanted to be a positive voice, a positive light in the tunnel where it can really be negative, so it was a good time.

"They are a great family and they're really united at this time and it was good to see."

Mr Cruz said it was strange thinking about a child being buried in his jersey. He did not know how to react.

"It leaves you kind of blank," he said. "I am definitely honoured by it. I am definitely humbled by it, and it's definitely an unfortunate but humbling experience for me."

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