The Los Angeles Rams reacted with horror and sadness Thursday after a mass shooting occurred near their training complex.
The Rams train in Thousand Oaks about five miles north of the Borderline Bar and Grill, where Marine combat veteran Ian David Long opened fire Wednesday night. He killed 12 people on college night at the country music bar before apparently killing himself.
The Rams currently believe no one connected to their organization was at the bar, but coach Sean McVay and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips both described a somber mood in the Rams’ locker room before practice. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth addressed the team and encouraged players to come up with a way to honor the victims in the near future.
Phillips described the shooting as a “horrible tragedy.”
“It’s a sad, sad deal, and we feel for the people it happened to,” Phillips added. “But it doesn’t just affect those people. It affects everybody, and our players are genuinely and greatly concerned about it, as we all are.”
The team will hold a moment of silence before its home game against Seattle on Sunday, and the Rams may organize additional tributes to the victims, McVay said.
“It’s something that makes you step back and gives you a perspective,” McVay said. “I know me personally, I’m very guilty of losing perspective, because you’re just in your own little world and it’s all football, all the time, and then you have things like this that occur and re-gather your priorities and your perspective on what’s really important, and (serve as a reminder to) not to get bent out of shape on some of the things that maybe I tend to do, just being in the role that I’m in.”
The Rams built their training complex 2 ½ years ago on a corner of the campus of Cal Lutheran University, which had students at the bar during the shooting. Recent graduate Justin Meek was killed, according to the school.
Classes were canceled at CLU on Thursday.
Quarterback Jared Goff , punter Johnny Hekker , receiver Cooper Kupp and others tweeted about the tragedy before practice.
Although the Rams are playing their games downtown in the Coliseum before their new stadium opens in Inglewood in 2020, the team chose the western Los Angeles suburbs for its semi-permanent weekday home when it returned to Southern California in 2016 after 21 seasons in St. Louis.
The Rams’ separate corporate offices also are in nearby Agoura Hills, a short drive from Thousand Oaks. Most of the team’s players and employees live in the suburban Ventura County suburbs one hour northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
“We’ve got players that are empathetic to the situation in terms of what’s going on,” McVay said. “With what you can control, I think we’ve got a lot of guys that it’s in their heart to try and help out.”