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Sports world shaken by Connecticut school shooting

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Sports world shaken by Connecticut school shooting

Stars from several different sports took to Twitter on Friday to try and cope with the school shooting in Connecticut, and the NFL asked each of its teams to observe a moment of silence before this weekend's games to pay respect to the victims.

A man killed his mother at home and then opened fire inside the elementary school where she taught, slaying 26 people, including 20 children. The 20-year-old killer, carrying two handguns, then committed suicide at the school.

``It's awful, just an awful day. It really, really is,'' Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said before their game at Houston. ``This is our jobs. This is not a game for us, it is what we do but when something like this happens, it supersedes job and everything else. As a parent - I don't know - this is just awful, awful what happened.''

Struggling to stay composed, Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott paused a couple of times as talked about the tragedy in Newtown, a small community about 60 miles northeast of New York City.

``I have three healthy kids and a beautiful granddaughter,'' he said. ``When you hear about kids who are that young and don't get a chance to live because of something that's so senseless as somebody going in and doing the things that this person did, I think it affects everybody. It puts everything in the right perspective as well. As much as we love this game, this doesn't mean nothing.''

From the full slate of NBA games to high school and college football finals, there were moments of silences at sporting events of all sizes. The overhead videoboard at the Barclays Center showed a candle and the town seal of Newtown as the Nets and Pistons paused for reflection before their game in Brooklyn.

Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant wrote ``Newtown CT'' on both shoes for the Thunder's 113-103 victory over Sacramento.

``I wish I could do more,'' he said. ``But it hit me really hard. It's tough to see, especially kids that couldn't do anything for themselves. Words can't even describe it. I'm kind of at a loss for words right now.''

The NFL sent a memo asking for each of its teams to observe a moment of silence before this weekend's games.

``This shocking event has brought the nation together in grieving for the victims and their families as well as the survivors,'' the note 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.''

Many athletes took to social media websites to process what happened, discussing their shock and horror, and openly worrying about their kids at school.

``Innocent victims just gone,'' Miami Heat star LeBron James said in a series of posts on Twitter. ``This is really messing with my mind. Kids is everything to me! And of course i have 2 of my own in elementary school as well. I can't imagine it happening to my kids school. I and the rest of the families would be devastated! Something has to be done.''

Golfer John Daly talked about home schooling his children, and outspoken Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe wondered about the road ahead.

``The way we deal with this tragedy in CT will tell us a lot about where we're headed as a society. Do we only address the symptoms (i.e. just gun control laws)? Or do we also address the disease - how we treat each other and those who need help,'' Kluwe said in a couple of posts on Twitter.

There also was some anger.

Montreal Canadiens captain Brian Gionta tweeted: ``Not sure if there is anything lower than harming innocent children.'' He ended the tweet with a hashtag of ``coward,'' then was critical of the media interviewing young children outside the school.

``At some point, we've got to get past bureaucracy and all the nonsense and do something about this so our kids can be safe,'' said New Orleans Hornets coach Monty Williams, who has five children ranging in age from 2 to 14.

``If we can go to outer space and take care of trees and rivers and animals, we can do a better job of taking care of our kids. It's just a sad situation.''

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Steelers will require fans to wear a mask at Heinz Field, should they be allowed

Steelers will require fans to wear a mask at Heinz Field, should they be allowed

If fans are permitted to attend Pittsburgh Steelers home games this fall, there's one item they can't forget: a mask.

Steelers' director of communication, Burt Lauten, explained the decision to require fans to wear a mask in a statement on Tuesday.

"Our goal is to still have fans at Heinz Field this year with the understanding that social distancing, as well as all fans being required to wear masks, will play a role in the capacity to ensure a safe atmosphere," Lauten said, via ESPN. "We will continue to work with the NFL and public health officials to finalize plans for fans to attend our home games."

Pittsburgh was one of the first franchises to alter its ticketing plans this season, as they decided in May to trim half of their individual game ticket sales due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The news comes just hours after their AFC North rival, the Baltimore Ravens, announced that M&T Bank Stadium will be capped at less than 14,000 fans this fall, should fans be allowed to attend games.

RELATED: NFL PROPOSED PAY CUT FOR PLAYERS

In June, The Athletic reported that the NFL will not place a limit on capacity at games, allowing each individual team to make the decision themselves.

"Attendance will be a state-by-state, county-by-county thing," an anonymous NFL source told The Athletic. "It will not be a one size fits all."

Additionally, the NFL has said that the first 6-8 rows of lower bowl sections, including field-level suites, will be blocked off this fall to help slow the spread of the virus. Those sections will be covered with tarps, which teams can use to sell advertising, similarly to what the Premier League in England has done.

With training camp still a few weeks away, there are a lot of virus-related questions the NFL must answer beforehand.

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Howard is a finalist for 2021 five-star defensive end Korey Foreman

Howard is a finalist for 2021 five-star defensive end Korey Foreman

The Howard University football program has moved a step closer to landing perhaps its highest-ranked recruit in years, if not ever.

Five-star defensive end Korey Foreman trimmed his college choice to seven on Wednesday evening, and the Howard Bison were on the list. The other six schools were Southern California (USC), LSU, Alabama, Oregon, Clemson, and Georgia.

In Foreman's tweet, he explained why Howard, a historically Black college (HBCU), was included in his list.

"I am a young black man that is happy and proud of my race," he wrote. "The Black Lives Matter movement is and forever will be powerful and definitely never forgotten. These are the schools I will now be focusing on the most. Set the standard and .. be different."

The news comes just a week after the Howard basketball program landed five-star Makur Maker, who chose the Bison over Division I schools UCLA, Kentucky and Memphis. Maker was the highest-ranked recruit Howard basketball has landed in its history. Mikey Williams, a top-five basketball recruit in the 2023 class, has already hinted about potentially playing at an HBCU as well.

Foreman, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound defensive end, is projected to commit to USC, according to 247Sports. Foreman is ranked the No. 2 overall prospect on 247Sports recruiting rankings for the 2021 class.

However, if the last few weeks are any indication, Howard can't be ruled out.

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