Jazz: Connecticut tragedy hits close to home for dads on team
Phoenix • The Utah Jazz had their shootaround behind drawn black curtains Friday morning, temporarily shielding the team, many of them fathers of young children, unaware of details emerging about a shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut.
However, like anyone who heard the reports 27 people dead, 20 of them children players said they were devastated by the news and that it was difficult to focus on preparing for Friday's game against the Suns. A moment of silence was observed before the game at US Airways Center.
"I'm going to try to block it out," Jazz guard Randy Foye said. "But there's no way you're going to be able to block it out."
Foye has two children, including a 4-year-old daughter in preschool. The Randy Foye Foundation helps at-risk kids get through school. A native of Newark, N.J., everything about Friday morning's shooting hit close to home.
"Just watching it on TV," Foye said, "I had to turn the channel because I was thinking to myself, 'How can someone be so selfish and do that?' The kids didn't even get a chance to go to college; they didn't get a chance to live their lives."
Foye said he believes in stricter gun laws.
"Too many incidents are happening," he said. "The guy in Colorado, the situation with the guy for the Chiefs [Jovan Belcher], the situation today. Something has to happen."
Coach Tyrone Corbin, who has two grown children, was visibly upset when he was asked during a pregame interview about the shooting. His eyes reddened, and he paused once to compose himself.
"I couldn't fathom being a parent," he said, "and having to deal with sending your kid to school to get an education you're doing the right thing and something like that happens."
Several players posted messages to Twitter, offering condolences to the families of victims. CEO Greg Miller tweeted, "Prayers on behalf of and love to the families of the victims in Newtown."
Point guard Mo Williams also has a foundation aimed at helping children and is a father of four, including a kindergartener.
He said that while he missed being with his children Friday, that he accepts that being away is part of his job.
"The beauty of this game that I play," he said, "it's therapy."