Newtown shooting victim Jack Pinto might have only been 6-years-old, but he was already one of the biggest Giants fans and had a special adoration for wide receiver Victor Cruz. On Sunday, Cruz paid tribute to the Sandy Hook Elementary School first grader who was killed in the Dec. 14 rampage.
Cruz honored Pinto during New York's game against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. On one cleat, Cruz wrote, “Jack Pinto, My Hero," per the New York Daily News. On the other, he wrote "R.I.P Jack Pinto." On his gloves, Cruz inscribed, “Jack Pinto This one is 4 U.!”
Cruz spoke about the emotional tribute after the game.
“There are no words that can describe the type of feeling you get when a kid idolizes you so much that they want to, unfortunately, put him in a casket with your jersey on,” Cruz told the Daily News. “I can’t even explain it.” Cruz's fiance and publicist, Elaina Watley, tracked down the Pinto family and the Giants player was able to offer his condolences.
Victor Cruz's tribute to Newtown victim Jack Pinto. Story continues below.
Cruz's tribute to Pinto will not stop at the cleats.
"I definitely plan on giving my cleats and gloves to the family," he told ESPN. "[I'm] going to try to head down there sometime this week. Just spend some time with them, talk to them a little bit, and get to know them a little bit. I wanted to go down there and pay my respects in person.”
He may set up a fundraiser in Pinto's honor, according to the Los Angeles Times, as he continues to think of ways to help the family long-term.
Although the Giants lost 34-0 on Sunday, Cruz is still happy he got to offer his support. "It felt good to honor a family that was going through so much," he told ESPN. "Messages can go out to these athletes, and some athletes just brush them off. So it felt good to be one of these athletes that really listened to that family, and really did something to pay tribute to them."
Pinto was one of the 20 children killed by gunman Adam Lanza in the Newtown, Conn., shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday, Dec. 14. His funeral is set for 1 p.m. Monday, according to ABC News.
Pinto will reportedly be buried in Cruz's No. 80 Giants jersey, ABC News reported.