Sports stars take to Twitter in wake of Aurora shooting

A frenetic pace fell about the world early Friday morning in the wake of the shooting that took place in Aurora, Colo., at a midnight premier of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Twelve people have been pronounced dead and another 50, including a 3-month-old baby, are wounded and being tended to in Denver-area hospitals, media outlets have reported.

The masked gunman entered the back door of the theater and tossed cans of a noxious gas into the crowd, then opened fire with a rifle, a shotgun and two handguns, according to a police report. Yet, it wasn’t just the incident that turned the world on its head today — it was the senseless and brutal manner in which the shooter performed this sick and selfish act.

The entire world has taken note of this horrific event, including some of the world’s most popular athletes.

“So u telling me I can’t even feel safe at the movies now!!?” Miami Heat superstar LeBron James tweeted just hours after the incident. “SMH. My prayers goes out to all the families involved in Aurora, Colorado. Its just not fair that innocent people have to lose their lives over someone’s selfish stupidity acts! My stomach is hurting over this.”

In addition to James, many fellow NBA stars, including ASU alumnus James Harden, tweeted their condolences to those affected by the tragedy — and the list doesn’t stop there. Many other stars and athletes took to their Twitter accounts to express their true feelings.

“My greatest condolences go out to all the families affected in last night’s Aurora shooting,” Denver Broncos quarterback and former ASU standout Brock Osweiler tweeted. “My thoughts and prayers will be with you.”

In the world of sports, headlines are grabbed by contract negotiations, free agency drama and the latest rumors of where Player A or Player B are going to end up next season. Very seldom will you find a headline on ESPN highlighting the emotional side of athletes, even after an event with as much weight as this.

It’s during times like these where the true character of the nation’s most recognized athletes shows. Too often are these players vilified for making millions upon millions of dollars only to whine and gripe about minor disputes with management, referees or teammates.

As unfortunate as it may be, at times, it takes a tragedy as saddening and heartbreaking as what happened in Colorado for these personalities — these entertainers — to propel them to share their innermost thoughts. And we, as the general public, should appreciate these moments.

That’s not to say that we should praise these athletes for their solemnity in a time of extreme sorrow for many people. Instead, we should find solace in the uniting power of humanity, something we tend to forget during our busy, day-to-day routines.

While the sports media world will continue to buzz in the coming days about contracts and training camps and these superstars will undoubtedly find new ways to make us scratch our heads, it’s nice to know they’re human beings with real emotions.

I just wish that was emphasized more often.

 

Reach the columnist at tpaxton@asu.edu