Saying he was there to lend support for victims and their families, Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo chastised anyone who claimed he was making a political statement when he returned home to Parkland, Florida, in the aftermath of the school shooting there last week.

"I thought the speech was important, to speak with the kids and families that were affected," Rizzo said Monday morning at a news conference from Cubs spring training. "I'm really proud to see what Parkland is doing and what the kids are doing and speaking out. And trying to make a difference. I stand behind my community.

"To be very clear, I did not say the word 'gun' one time. Anyone out there who wrote I'm calling for gun control is very irresponsible. I did not say that once. I don't know enough about it. I don't know what needs to be done, but some type of change needs to happen for the better."

Rizzo, 28, is a graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where Nikolas Cruz is accused of fatally shooting 17 people last Wednesday. Rizzo's ties to the community run deep, and he knew some of those who were killed, including a football coach and the niece of his agent.

"He's a true hero," Rizzo said of assistant football coach Aaron Feis. "He has this monster coming in, shooting up the school, and he jumps in front of kids and saves their lives."

Rizzo stressed that he doesn't have all the answers, as he's "just a baseball player," but it's obvious to him things can't go on as they are.