Detroit Lions pay homage to Oxford
Detroit – The Detroit Lions have been like everyone else all week, trying to deal with the senseless tragedy that befell Oxford this week, where authorities say a 15-year-old student engaged in a high school shootout, killing four classmates and injuring several more within minutes.
The team has tributes planned for Sunday’s game against Minnesota – t-shirts worn during pre-game warm-ups, decals on helmets and a moment of silence before kick-off – but the Coach Dan Campbell wanted to bring home what the team were playing for this week. On Saturday, he showed his team a brief video that gave an overview of each of the victims.
After the game, Campbell’s jubilation after earning his first victory as Detroit head coach was muted as he paid homage to Oxford, symbolically dedicating a game ball and reading the names of each shooting victim.
âThis game ball goes to the entire Oxford community,â said Campbell. âEveryone that’s been affected. And that being said, man, I just want – I want us to remember these names: Madisyn Baldwin, Hana St. Juliana, Justin Shilling, Tate Myre, Phoebe Arthur, John Asciutto, Riley Franz, Elijah Mueller, Kylie Ossege, Aiden Watson and Molly Darnell, who is a teacher. These names for all who will never be forgotten and they are in our hearts and in our prayers. “
Football, or any other form of entertainment, can seem insignificant at times like these. But Campbell reminded his players that they are offering this community an opportunity to temporarily escape the angst of the past week.
“My thought was, ‘Hey man, if we can take three hours to ease their pain a little bit, it’s worth it. “” said Campbell. “And that’s kind of how I thought of it and we just did a great job. The players, they replied, played well.”
Quarterback Jared Goff, who was in his second season with the Los Angeles Rams when a gunman blew up a bar in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Killing a dozen people before committing suicide, swallowed his tears when asked what this week and this game meant to him.
âI’m going to try not to be emotional, but, you know, special things sometimes happen under special circumstances,â Goff said of the team’s last second victory. “I think you saw (Saturday) what Michigan did against Iowa and then we (Sunay) got our first victory in what, 12, 13 weeks? You never hope for a tragedy like this, but you hope to be a light for these people and a positive thing that they can have fun watching today.
âI hope they were all watching today and were able to enjoy this win, and we can forget anything for them, three hours,â said Goff. “I think whenever we can do that it’s a lot bigger than our sport, it’s a lot bigger than us. I think today is one of those special circumstances where we have been able to. seize the opportunity and make something special happen. “