Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra opened his pregame press conference on Wednesday with a statement on Tuesday’s mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
“Before I start, I would like to just say something,” Spoelstra said after sitting down at the podium at FTX Arena on Wednesday night prior to Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals. “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.”
Spoelstra and his wife, Nikki, have two sons, 4-year-old Santiago and 2-year-old Dante.
“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,” Spoelstra said.
“I think there’s certainly — after continued events, there’s a call to action. I think everybody is trying to figure out a way to be heard, to force some kind of change from the people that can make change. I just really feel for all the families.”
Spoelstra was then asked how difficult it is to reflect on another school shooting four years after the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
“It’s very tough,” Spoelstra said. “My wife and I had kind of a tough afternoon reflecting on it last night for those very reasons, and it does feel like just yesterday that we were going up there and spending time in that community, and just the shock that it was happening, so real in our neighborhood really, in our community. But it just continues to happen.
“I know everybody is saying that there needs to be a call to action, and 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 change to the people that can actually make the change.”