On Sunday morning, the United States suffered its deadliest mass shooting when an individual opened fire and took hostages at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. At least 49 people were killed and an additional 53 were injured in the attack, which prompted Florida governor Rick Scott to declare a state of emergency in Orange County.
Sports stars from around the country took to social media soon after the news broke out to share their condolences to those affected by the incident, such as Shaquille O’Neal, who was a member of the Orlando Magic for four seasons before joining the Los Angeles Lakers in 1996. His message expressed support for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. “My thoughts & prayers go out to my Orlando LGBT community brothers and sister during this senseless act of violence,” he wrote. “Love is Love!”
My thoughts & prayers go out to my Orlando LGBT community brothers and sister during this senseless act of violence.
Love is Love!
— SHAQ (@SHAQ) June 12, 2016
Current Magic players Evan Fournier and Nikola Vucevic echoed Shaq’s sentiments by sending their thoughts and prayers to the victims of the shooting.
My heart goes out to all the victims of this tragedy here in Orlando…
Thoughts and prayers are with them and their loved ones.
— Evan Fournier (@EvanFourmizz) June 12, 2016
— Nikola Vucevic (@NikolaVucevic) June 12, 2016
LeBron James, who has been one of the faces of the NBA since he was drafted in 2003, said what happened in Orlando puts basketball into perspective for himself.
“It’s another hit for us as Americans and what we have to deal with in our world today,” said James. “It definitely puts things in perspective on basketball for myself — it’s just a small matter of what reality really is. My prayers to all the lost ones and all the ones that are recovering from this morning’s tragedy in Orlando.”
Michael Sam, who made history by becoming the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL, posted a long message on Instagram urging people to come together following “this hateful act of terror on the LGBTQ community.”
To my brothers and sisters of the LGBTQ community please take the time to read this. If you have not already heard there was a terrible shooting at a gay night club in Orlando. It is not only a sad day for the #LGBTQ community, but for the American people. 50 people lost their lives because of a hateful coward with a gun. Let this hateful act of terror on the #LGBTQ community be a wake up call for America. Men and women of all races, ages, and sexual orientation are being slaughtered because of hate crimes. How many more must die from a hate crime? We need to create awareness for ALL to show that hate is not the foundation of our nation. Friends DO NOT let this coward put fear into your hearts!!! Let us all come together stronger than ever and let the world know that we will not be terrorized or bullied by the actions of hateful bigots. We are here to stay and fight not only for equality, but for our very existence. To the victims love ones of this terrible crime I and the entire #LGBTQ community in the world stands with you and mourns with you. #standwithorlando #prayfororlando #love #peace #lbgtq #pride
WNBA star Brittney Griner posted a picture on Instagram of five hearts (one of which is broken in half) in the colors of the LGBT flag with the caption: “This is such a sad day!”
Olympic gold medalist Alex Morgan, a star forward for the Orlando Pride women’s soccer team, said she’s heartbroken for the city she now calls home.
— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) June 12, 2016
Both MLB and NASCAR were among the sports leagues to hold moments of silence for the victims on Sunday. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the NBA will also hold a moment of silence tonight before Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Cavaliers and Warriors.