Just minutes after his first win as Detroit Lions head coach, there was something bigger than football at the forefront of Dan Campbell’s mind Sunday afternoon—the Oxford community.
Shortly after beating the Minnesota Vikings 29-27 in an exciting, dramatic fashion—one might expect a first-year coach would come bounding up to the podium to speak to the press, especially one with Campbell’s demeanor. But Campbell began his comments by first and foremost dedicating the game ball, the Lions win, to the Oxford community and everything they’ve been through this past week.
“I want us to not forget these names,” Campbell said, as he read the names of the 10 students and one teacher shot by a student on Nov. 30. That list began with the four students who were killed, Madisyn Baldwin, Hana St. Juliana, Justin Shilling, and Tate Myre.
“For all those—they’ll never be forgotten, they’re in our hearts and our prayers, and all the families—not to mention all those that were affected by all of this,” Campbell said. “The classmates, the brothers and sisters, the cousins, the teachers—everybody.”
Jared Goff also addressed the Oxford community, expressing that this win was something special.
“I’ll try not to get emotional but sometimes special things happen in special circumstances. I think we saw yesterday what Michigan did against Iowa,” he said.
Goff is referring to the University of Michigan football team, who just captured the Big Ten championship while wearing patches in honor of Tate Myre. The patches had the number 42 on them—Myre’s football jersey number in high school. It’s also the number of points Michigan scored against Iowa to win the championship.
“Then us today, getting our first win in 12-13 weeks. You never hope for a tragedy like this but you hope to be a light for those people and a positive thing that they could have fun watching today. I hope they were all watching today and were able to enjoy that win and we could talk their minds off it for whatever, maybe three hours,” Goff said. “I think anytime that we can do that it’s a lot bigger than our sports, it’s a lot bigger than us, and I think today was one of those special circumstances that we were able to rise to the occasion and make something special happen.”
Like many across Michigan, and worldwide really, the Lions have been rocked by the tragedy at Oxford High School. There are no real words after such a horrifying event, but the Lions have been doing what they can to honor the victims and support the community.
Jalen Elliott shares the number with Oxford High School victim Tate Myre.
Today, he wears his name on his back into the stadium. https://t.co/tA98d3Rzx6
— Pride of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) December 5, 2021
Here’s a reminder of how you can support the Oxford community from Erik Schlitt’s article on Saturday:
If you are interested in supporting the Oxford community, Hour Detroit’s Emma Klug compiled a thorough list of ways to help. Some options include donating to verified GoFundMe accounts and Change.org, or purchasing apparel from the Oxford Wildcat Booster Club. If you require support dealing with this tragedy, the Michigan department of health and human services have published a list of strategies and resources for those who need it.