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Cam Newton wears cleats honoring victims of Pittsburgh shooting


PITTSBURGH — Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton showed his support for the grieving city of Pittsburgh and his team’s owner by wearing black and gold warm-up cleats with “Hatred Can’t Weaken A City of Steel” on the side before Thursday night’s game against the Steelers.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger showed his support as well with cleats that said “Stronger Than Hate” and listed the names of the 11 people recently shot and killed by a gunman at Tree of Life synagogue.

Pittsburgh is the hometown of Carolina owner David Tepper, who was a minority owner of the Steelers before he purchased the Panthers earlier this year for $2.275 billion, a record for an NFL team.

While the site of the shooting wasn’t Tepper’s primary synagogue, he lived in the neighborhood near it while in graduate school at Carnegie Mellon University.



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Los Angeles Rams, Sean McVay send ‘thoughts and prayers’ to victims of Thousand Oaks shooting


THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — The Los Angeles Rams and coach Sean McVay offered their condolences and support to the victims, families and community affected by the mass shooting Wednesday night at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks that killed 12 people.

The shooting took place just over 4 miles from the Rams’ practice facility, which is on the campus of California Lutheran University, and 7 miles from the team’s corporate headquarters in Agoura Hills.

“Our organization’s thoughts and prayers are with the families and the victims that were affected by this terrible act that took place in our area,” McVay said.

Many Rams players, coaches and staff members settled in the Thousand Oaks area after the team returned to Southern California from St. Louis in 2016.

“Our thoughts and prayers are obviously with the people that it happened to,” defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said. “It affects everybody, our team was talking about it, our players, our staff, everybody here. It’s a sad, sad deal. And we feel for the people involved, that it happened to.”

The Rams held a team meeting to discuss the tragedy. McVay said that left tackle Andrew Whitworth and several players were proactively seeking a way to use their platform to offer support to the local community.

One of the 12 victims of the shooting was identified as Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, who arrived at the scene of the shooting at 11:20 p.m. in response to several 911 calls, heard gunfire, went inside and immediately was shot repeatedly.

The Rams plan to honor the victims with a moment of silence on Sunday before kickoff against the Seattle Seahawks at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum.



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Roethlisberger honors shooting victims with ‘Stronger than hate’ cleat – Pittsburgh Steelers Blog


BALTIMORE — Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wore specialized cleats paying tribute to the Tree of Life synagogue shooting victims during pregame warmups Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

Roethlisberger wore the cleats — which feature the words “Stronger Than Hate” and the Star of David inside the Steelers’ logo — while hugging each teammate during team stretching, his ritual for every game.

On Tuesday, Steelers players and staff members attended the joint funeral of brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal, who were among the 11 killed during the Oct. 27 shooting.

Michele Rosenthal, the sister of the two victims, used to be the Steelers’ community relations manager. Roethlisberger was among several players to mention Rosenthal by name after the Steelers’ 33-18 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Coach Mike Tomlin lives in the neighborhood of Squirrel Hill, where the shooting took place.

“It was tough, it was crazy tough, especially with Michele and the closeness we have with her,” Roethlisberger said last Sunday. “We’re thankful for the victory, but we all understand, there are bigger things, there’s life.”

After Friday’s practice, Roethlisberger’s equipment bag was packed with two pairs of cleats — one for the pregame tribute, one black-and-gold pair for game action.

Players typically wear tribute cleats for pregame warmups only, or else they face a fine for an NFL uniform violation.





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Pittsburgh Steelers attend funeral for brothers killed in Tree of Life Synagogue shooting


Two buses of Steelers players and staff attended the joint funeral on Tuesday for brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal, who were killed in the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting on Saturday in Pittsburgh.

Michele Rosenthal, the sister of the two victims, used to be the Steelers’ community relations manager. Several players mentioned Rosenthal by name after the Steelers’ 33-18 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

“It was tough, it was crazy tough, especially with Michele and the closeness we have with her,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “We’re thankful for the victory but we all understand, there are bigger things, there’s life. I’m glad we could gift people three hours with a break.”

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin on Sunday said he was “a member of the Squirrel Hill community” and that “words cannot express how we feel.”

More than 1,000 people poured into Rodef Shalom — one of Pittsburgh’s largest synagogues — to mourn the two intellectually disabled brothers who were killed in the massacre that left 11 dead in the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history. Members of the team took two buses to the funeral, and the Steelers moved Tomlin’s weekly news conference from noon to 1 p.m. so that he could attend.

The Rosenthal family had asked media and the public to respect their privacy at the Rodef Shalom Temple as they mourned the passing of their loved ones.

The Steelers held a moment of silence before Sunday’s game, and Tomlin addressed the tragedy during a Saturday night meeting with his team. In pregame warm-ups, defensive end Cam Heyward wore a T-shirt featuring a heart around the word “Pittsburgh.” “Our hearts are heavy, but we must stand against anti-Semitism and hate crimes of any nature and come together to preserve our values and our community,” said team president Art Rooney II in a statement issued Sunday morning.

Prior to Tuesday night’s 6-3 loss to the visiting Islanders, the Penguins observed 11 seconds of silence for the 11 killed in the shooting. Three members of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh stood with Jeff Jimerson as he sang the national anthem and the puck drop featured Pittsburgh’s police chief, its public safety director and two first responders, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Prior to the game, the Penguins collected money at all three gates and the team’s foundation donated $25,000 apiece to the Jewish Federation and to a fund established to benefit police officers injured in the shooting. On Monday, the team held a blood drive.

Penguins players wore “Stronger Than Hate” patches and their sweaters will be auctioned after the game. The team is also donating its share of the 50/50 raffle.

Sidney Crosby, who scored late in the first period to forge a 2-2 tie after the Panthers fell behind 2-0, said the victims were on his mind.

“We wanted to go out there and play for them,” Crosby said. “You try to recognize that and play as hard as you can to show your appreciation. Words are one thing, but you try to go out there and follow it up the same.”

Crosby had hoped for a better result.

“We had a lot of different emotions going through our minds to start, but the bottom line is that we wanted to find a way to get a win for a lot of reasons,” Crosby said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.”

Information from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler and The Associated was used in this report.





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Mike Evans of Tampa Bay Buccaneers helps Jacksonville shooting victims


TAMPA, Fla. — There was trash talk, laughter and most of all — it was the first time top Madden player Shay Kivlen had smiled in over a week.

The 21-year-old known as “Young Kiv” took on Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans in a Madden game Monday to raise funds for victims of the Jacksonville Madden shooting on Aug. 26.

Kivlen lost his best friend Elijah “Trueboy” Clayton, 22, and another close friend in Taylor “Spotmeplzzz” Robertson, 27, when David Katz, 24, of Maryland, opened fire at the “Madden NFL 19” qualifying tournament, fatally shooting both of them and wounding 11 others before taking his own life.

“It’s nice to see that even though there’s this bad seed, there’s all these good people in this world,” said Kivlen, who was at the tournament 20 minutes before and who was told by EA staffers he may have been one of Katz’s targets. “I just don’t want anyone to feel the pain that I have.”

Money raised from the event, which was livestreamed on Tiltify, will help both families, whom Kivlen has been in touch with, cover the costs of funeral expenses.

“It’s such a horrible thing that anyone should have to go through,” Kivlen said. “I just feel so bad for [Clayton and Robertson’s] families [and] the families of the people that are hurting.”

For Evans, it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up, even if he was admittedly rusty at the game.

“It means a lot [to help]. To be able to be in this position … having a platform like this, I will never take it for granted. I always try to help as much as I can.”





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J.J. Watt of Houston Texans will pay for funerals of Santa Fe High School shooting victims


HOUSTON — Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt will pay for the funerals of those killed in the shooting at Santa Fe High School, the team confirmed.

Ten people were killed Friday morning and 10 more wounded after a 17-year-old carrying a shotgun and revolver opened fire at the high school about 30 miles from downtown Houston.

According to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, nine of the victims were students. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called the shooting “one of the most heinous attacks that we’ve ever seen in the history of Texas schools.”

According to police officials, the 17-year-old is in custody and has been charged with capital murder, and a second person has been detained.

Shortly after the shooting, Watt tweeted, “Absolutely horrific.”

Watt has been active in the surrounding community since he was drafted by Houston in 2011. Most notably, he started a fundraiser last August that raised more than $37 million for those affected by the flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

The Texans also released a statement.

“On behalf of the Texans organization, we are saddened by the tragic events at Sante Fe High School this morning and extend our thoughts and heartfelt condolences to the victims, their families and all those affected. We are grateful for the brave first responders, law enforcement officials and medical personnel. The Texans family will continue to pray for our neighbors.”





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