In the weeks following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the sports world stood still. The NFL and MLB took breaks at the start and end of their respective seasons, and the entire world watched at the U.S. reeled in unimaginable devastation and loss.
Sports were at the back of everyone’s mind. Michael Jordan’s possible comeback to basketball? Who cared? Barry Bonds going for a single season home run record? Irrelevant.
But, it was also sports that helped the country feel like it was returning to a certain sense of normalcy in the weeks and months following the tragedy.
Granted, now 16 years later, the attacks from that day have changed sports forever.
“What once offered a respite from the real world has instead become a part of it,” ESPN contributing writer Eli Saslow wrote on the 10-year anniversary of the attacks. “A trip to the stadium sometimes means a metal detector at the entrance, a mandatory bag check inside the gate, a no-fly zone overhead and armed police officers standing alongside autograph seekers outside locker rooms. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has helped train colleges on how to guard against terrorism at sporting events. In 2006, the FBI investigated potential terrorist threats at NFL stadiums.”
New York Mets beat reporter and author of “Press Box Revolution” Rich Coutinho wrote about his personal experience and how the events from 9/11 changed sports reporting. An excerpt from was reprinted in Monday’s NY Sports Day, and it’s well worth the read.
“Talking to my parents that night, I explained to them much like the Empire State Building was their crowning landmark, the World Trade Center towers were the same for my generation,” Coutinho penned. “I honestly felt it symbolized the greatness of life in both New York and this country—two towers that hit the heavens and connected our dreams to reality. Part of me died that day and will never come back. In the days following the attack, I found out I lost four friends in that building including the aforementioned accountant.”
Each year on this day, teams all across the country take a moment to honor the lives of those lost in the attacks. Here’s a quick look at some of this year’s postings on social media, starting with New York area teams.
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) September 11, 2017
— New York Liberty (@nyliberty) September 11, 2017
We will never forget. pic.twitter.com/yW3wZcQKmh
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 11, 2017
Never forget. 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/5lwwBxLlbY
— New York Jets (@nyjets) September 11, 2017
Forever changed. Forever strong. 🇺🇸
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 11, 2017
— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) September 11, 2017
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 11, 2017
— Washington Mystics (@WashMystics) September 11, 2017
Today, we remember. 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/C0AFiudjtl
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) September 11, 2017
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 11, 2017
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 11, 2017
— Red Sox (@RedSox) September 11, 2017
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) September 11, 2017