During the Super Bowl match, the controversy surrounding Damar Hamlin’s “American Football Safety for the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League (NFL)” jacket sparked a massive debate on social media.
The jacket featured an abstract depiction of Jesus on the cross with the word “ETERNAL” beneath it. On the front of the coat was an abstract representation of Jesus’ face with a quote from the Holy Bible that read, “Without beginning or end there is neither day nor night.”
Many people around the world felt it disrespectful and termed it as blasphemy, while others advocated Hamlin’s right to wear whatever he chose.
However, netizens gave a mixed reaction. While few ridiculed him, others believed the controversy was exaggerated. Some individuals pointed out that there are more important issues to focus on and that people should not get worked up over a jacket. Others argued that the jacket was a matter of personal choice and that people should be free to wear what they want.
Keep reading to learn more about the chain of events that resulted in the controversy surrounding Damar Hamlin’s jacket.
Damar Hamlin’s Jacket Controversy Explained
February 13, 2023: Damar Hamlin, the Buffalo Bills safety, wears a jacket during warmups before the Super Bowl match against the Cincinnati Bengals. The jacket features an abstract depiction of Jesus on the back, along with the word “ETERNAL.”
February 14, 2023: Social media users across the globe express mixed reactions to Hamlin’s jacket, with some finding it offensive and disrespectful, while others admire it as abstract art, advocating his right to free speech.
February 15, 2023: Former NFL running back Adrian Peterson criticizes Hamlin on Instagram, calling the jacket “blasphemous” and “disrespectful.”
Peterson later said, “So I spoke with Damar, and we were able to discuss our thoughts as men. I want to be clear, I’m the last person to judge anyone, and that was never my intention. However, I do feel as if the jacket was disrespectful and it was something that I needed to share.”
He further added, “I do realize everyone makes mistakes and falls short at times, so again, my intention was never to judge, just to share my opinion. Damar, I have respect and love for you and I wish you nothing but the best, but I just can’t rock with that jacket.”
Hamlin issued a public apology on Twitter, clarifying that he never intended to hurt or disrespect anyone with the jacket. He wrote on his official Twitter handle, “After talking with my parents I understand how my coat could have offended some people. It was never my intention to hurt or disrespect anyone, the coat is abstract art to me. It says Eternal which I am Eternally thankful to my Savior!”
He then quoted a verse from Bible, “My beliefs and Relationship with God is not tied to symbolic images. I will learn from this and continue to walk in Love as I ALWAYS have. Matthew 7:1-5.”
Initially, Hamlin defended the choice of his attire by saying that the jacket was an example of abstract art and that he had no intention of disrespecting anyone. However, after he spoke to his parents, he issued a public apology on Twitter, stating that he had spoken with his parents and understood how the jacket could have offended some people.
Despite Hamlin’s apology, the controversy continued to simmer on social media. Some defended his right to wear the jacket, arguing that it was a matter of artistic expression and freedom of speech. Others called for Hamlin to be punished or disciplined by the NFL for his actions.
It is pertinent to mention that Hamlin received support from some of his teammates and coaches, who praised his character and contributions to the team.
He was glorified for his charitable work off the field, receiving the NFLPA’s Alan Page Community Award for his work with the Boys & Girls Club of Buffalo and his efforts to combat gun violence in his hometown of Pittsburgh. Also, Hamlin received support from some of his teammates and coaches, who praised his character and contributions to the team.
At the start of the year, Damar Hamlin, a safety for the Buffalo Bills, suffered cardiac arrest during a game on January 2, despite being in excellent physical condition.
Following a tackle, Hamlin suddenly collapsed and was unresponsive on the ground. Fortunately, a medical team was quickly on hand to administer CPR and use a defibrillator to revive him and restore his normal heartbeat.
Recovering from cardiac arrest is a complex process. Still, just over a month after his collapse, on February 12, Dr. Thom Mayer, the medical director of the NFL Players Association, stated on the SiriusXM Doctor Radio program Heart to Heart, “I guarantee you that Damar Hamlin will play professional football again.”
What on earth can be more incredible than Hamlin’s story of perseverance and strength when even after his heart stopped beating and he was on the road to recovery, just four days later, he asked for a pen and paper to scribble, “Did we win?”
His spirit is a testament to his unwavering passion for football. Following a nine-day stint at the hospital, the Buffalo Bills announced that Hamlin was discharged from Buffalo General Medical Center. The team also revealed that he underwent a comprehensive medical evaluation to assess his physical condition.
Despite his progress, Hamlin remained grounded when he appeared on Good Morning America the day after the NFL medical director’s interview. He spoke candidly about the emotional trauma of surviving such a harrowing experience.
As for his future in football, Hamlin said he was uncertain. Although doctors were working to help him return to his usual self, he ultimately had the final say. He acknowledged that it’s a long road ahead, but he’s grateful for his progress so far.