J.J. Watt is doing his part to help the families who lost loved ones during America’s latest mass shooting at a school. The Houston Texans defensive end has reportedly offered to pay for the funerals of all 10 victims who were killed by a teenage gunman at Santa Fe High School.
According to Sports Illustrated, J.J. Watt has notified officials at the school near Houston that he would like to cover the funeral costs of the nine students and one teacher who lost their lives when 17-year-old student Dimitrios Pagourtzis decided to storm his school with a shotgun and a revolver. As reported by FOX 26 Houston, Watt often uses his sports star status to help his community. The recipient of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award has raised money for victims of Hurricane Harvey and multiple charitable organizations that include Feeding America and Save the Children. Watt hasn’t released a statement about his plans to pay for the Santa Fe school shooting victims’ funerals, but he did react to the tragedy on Twitter.
“Absolutely horrific,” he wrote.
Many others involved in Texas’ professional sports industry had something to say about the mass shooting. As reported by Yahoo! Sports, Houston Rockets point guard Chris Paul, a gun control advocate, had his own children on his mind when he shared his feelings about the tragedy. During a Friday night press conference, the NBA star said that he found it difficult to talk basketball in the wake of such a horrific event because it made the playoffs seem “minor” in comparison.
“It’s tough, man,” Paul said. “It’s scary that that’s become the norm here, and we’ve got to do something about it because I can’t imagine something like that taking place with my kids.”
As reported by MLB.com, Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister spoke about the shooting on Friday ahead of the Rangers’ matchup against the White Sox. He mentioned the number of school shootings that have taken place in 2018. According to CNN, it currently stands at 22, and the year isn’t even halfway over.
Banister didn’t call for gun control, instead placing the onus on communities to “help the people who are hurting in these types of situations.”
“And if we’re not paying attention to it and doing our own part to find a way to eliminate that that is going on, shame on us — every one of us in this room,” Banister said.
As reported by Click2Houston, Houston Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. told reporters that he thinks that “there’s got to be some sort of solution” to America’s gun problem, while third baseman Alex Bregman offered his “thoughts and prayers” to the Santa Fe shooting victims. However, according to the Houston Chronicle, Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch was among those calling for a response other than the usual “thoughts and prayers” that have become the cookie-cutter response to mass shootings. Instead of “condolences,” he wants “answers” and action.
“It’s going to be a different city and another city and another city. Thoughts and prayers are great, they’re not fixing the problem,” Hinch said.
He also stated that the latest shooting tragedy made him “angry” and “sick,” and he called for America to “figure out a way to stop this madness.”
“There’s no reason for our schools to be combat zones,” he said. “And it’s turning that way.”