Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin, who came to the national consciousness after collapsing on the field from cardiac arrest, is apologizing for wearing a jacket to the Super Bowl last week that some felt was “blasphemous.”
Hamlin collapsed on Jan. 2 during a game between his Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals, in a shocking medical scare that brought millions of Americans in prayer for his recovery. He was given CPR twice before getting to a Cincinnati hospital and spent several days in a coma, but in only a month he was back up on his feet and released from the hospital.
Americans were so hopeful for his recovery and eager to support him that his fundraiser for toys for needy kids jumped by millions in donations after his collapse.
Yet, even before his collapse, the 24-year-old player from Pittsburgh had often expressed his deep Christian faith and was well known among his fellow players as a serious, practicing Christian. Indeed, his faith brought both teams together to kneel in prayer on the field the night he collapsed.
Powerful scene Sean McDermott gathered the team to pray for Damar Hamlin. Let the game be suspended for a long period. Powerful scene. Pray for Damar Hamlin. #BillsMafia #gobills #bills #bufvscin #RuleTheJungle #MNF #MNFxESPN #buffalobills https://t.co/7q1MuKLzQC pic.twitter.com/KZIeRSRcVA
— Chetan Rakieten (@chetanrakieten) January 3, 2023
In one interview ahead of the Super Bowl, for instance, Hamlin told KCRA-TV, “My entire life, I felt like God was using me to give others hope and now with a new set of circumstances, I can say he’s doing what He’s always done. I have a long journey ahead, a journey full of unknowns and a journey full of milestones, but it’s a lot easier to face your fears when you know your purpose.”
But despite his oft-repeated professions of faith, Hamlin raised a lot of eyebrows with his choice of attire for Super Bowl LVII.
When the cameras caught the young player at the Super Bowl, the jacket he was wearing caused some to accuse him of blasphemy in the cartoonish way it portrayed Jesus on the cross.
The cameras showed Hamlin wearing white sunglasses and a Jesus-themed jacket that caught the attention of Super Bowl watchers.
According to the website Hypebeast, the $3,600 jacket was a creation of Takashi Murakami, Yuta Hosokawa and Cali Thornhill DeWitt’s ©SAINT M ×××××× label.
The design was called “Travis Jesus” and supposedly “incorporates ‘SAINT YOUTH’ patches stitched on the sleeves, crucifixion motifs on the back, Murakami-style Jesus artwork on the left chest, and ‘Without End or Beginning There is no Day and no Night’ quote on the right.”
But many social media users were not at all amused.
Excuse me Damar Hamlin, but what exactly is this atrocity? Mocking Jesus? pic.twitter.com/d0wztIZUpm
— DailyNoah.com (@DailyNoahNews) February 13, 2023
— Elizabeth the First (@inthepinesart) February 12, 2023
Damar Hamlin wearing this Multi Colored Jacket. I don’t think this Glorifies God, an ugly or evil looking image being Crucified and all these Symbolisms. I could be wrong, what do you think? pic.twitter.com/fp1Q1EUjOD
— Johnny Midnight ⚡️ (@its_the_Dr) February 13, 2023
Indeed, former NFL star Adrian Peterson even blasted Hamlin for wearing the “disrespectful” jacket.
So, with all the criticism over the jacket ringing in his ears, Hamlin has finally come out to apologize for upsetting fans and said he did not realize how the style of the jacket would have triggered many.
“After talking with my parents I understand how my coat could have offended some people. It was never my intentions to hurt or disrespect anyone, the coat is abstract art to me. It says Eternal which I am Eternally thankful to my Savior!” he said on Twitter, adding, “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.”
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 🏾💕
— 𝐃𝐚𝐦𝐚𝐫 𝐇𝐚𝐦𝐥𝐢𝐧 (@HamlinIsland) February 15, 2023
Unlike many in these situations that elicit an apology from someone in the news, it seems likely that Hamlin’s apology can actually be believed and accepted.
The jacket was a bit too loose with how it depicted Jesus Christ, granted, and maybe someone a bit older than Hamlin might have understood ahead of time that many would be offended by it. But at least he apologized instead of defiantly poking another finger in the eyes of his detractors.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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