The Miami Heat preceded Wednesday’s Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals with a moment of silence in honor of the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
Calling the attack that killed 19 students and two teachers and left several others wounded “senseless,” the Heat urged their fans to contact their state senator in support of “common sense gun laws” and pushed them to register to vote.
The call to action was met with a warm response from the crowd.
Miami’s message following the moment of silence:
“The Heat urges you to contact your state senator by calling 202-224-3121 to leave a message demanding their support for common sense gun laws. You can also make change at the ballot box. Visit Heat.com/vote to register and let your voice be heard this fall.”
Gun control is once again a major issue after Tuesday, especially in Florida, where the state’s Republican leadership is currently pushing for a change in state law allowing residents to carry concealed guns without permits. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has pledged to sign the bill before the end of his term, while state Democrats have called for the state legislature to make a move in the opposite direction.
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra commented on the shooting before the game Wednesday, telling reporters he wants to see action.
“Obviously, it was just tragic news yesterday. I left shootaround the other day, and it was before Game 1, I went straight to school to pick up my boys. My wife used to be a junior high teacher. We’re just devastated by the news and I can’t even imagine what that community and the families are feeling in that kind of scenario, going to school and seeing all the police cars and everything.
“It just continues to happen. I know everybody is saying there needs to be a call to action. I think what this is forcing people to do is just to figure it out, including myself. We don’t have the answers but we want to be heard to be able to force people who can actually make the change.
Reactions to the Uvalde shooting have been coming in from around the sports world, including an MLB pitcher who attended Robb Elementary. Quite possibly the strongest voice came from the NBA’s other conference final, where Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr directly criticized Senate Republicans for refusing to vote on a background check bill.