Originally written on Midwest Sports Fans  |  Last updated 7/23/12

NBA star Kevin Garnett, NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, and a group of Denver Broncos players have reassured us that sports role models aren’t made by their actions on the court or field, but rather their actions in society.

Following the horrific, terrifying, and disturbing events of the Colorado movie theater shooting last week, Garnett and Manning have taken action to try to help those most affected by this unexpected tragedy.

Seven players with the Denver Broncos visited with victims of the Aurora, Colo., shooting rampage on Sunday, July 22, 2012. (Photo courtesy: Denver Broncos via KJRH.com)

On July 21st, Garnett sent out a tweet reading:

For every R-T this gets, $1 will be donated to the 5 sets of kids who’s parents were killed in the James Holmes, Colorado #TheatreShooting

— Kevin Garnett(@RealKG5) July 21, 2012

As of Sunday, July 22nd at 11:59 pm, this statement had been re-tweeted over 69,000 times.

On Sunday, Manning took it upon himself to make phone calls to victims of the shooting, hoping to uplift their spirits. Several other Denver Broncos players visited victims who were still in the hospital.

Because I live in Indiana, I heard several folks argue that Manning is probably upset that this story is over the media because that’s not how he operates.

While Manning never cares about off-the-field recognition for his good deeds, it’s sometimes nice for these stories to leak, letting people know that professional athletes are just as concerned with catastrophic events, such as the theatre shooting in Colorado, as they are with games they play.

Too many times we are quick to judge players by their on-the-court performance or their stubborn demands for big contracts. While sometimes it seems silly, instances like this reassure us that professional athletes are human beings, who are often willing to help those in need whenever possible.

It’s never surprising to see Manning helping in this fashion. His humble nature on the field suggests he is a very caring fellow in the community.

Garnett, on the other hand, is a guy who thrives on trash-talking and is an intense competitor on the basketball court, giving off a vibe that maybe he isn’t too concerned with what goes on in the real world. But this instance goes to show that any athlete, no matter what their character and attitude is like during game-time, may be willing to provide assistance and comfort to those dealing with difficult situations.

I applaud Garnett, Manning, and every professional athlete who spent their time to assist those who were affected by the events of last week. It was a strong sign that humanitarianism is alive and well in sports.

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