Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin said he did not intend to “hurt or disrespect anyone” with the jacket he wore at Super Bowl LVII after she was criticized for being “blasphemy.”
Hamlin attended the NFL season finale, played between the Kansas City Chiefs vs Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, and was honored before kickoff, along with medical staff and first responders who helped perform the life-saving CPR when he suffered cardiac arrest during a game in January and oversaw his recovery.
The 24-year-old wore a jacket with the image of Jesus on the back and the word “Eternal” on it. On the front, he carried another image of Jesus and the phrase, “Without end and without beginning, there is neither day nor night.”
Depictions of Jesus have been criticized, particularly by NFL star running back Adrian Peterson.
In an Instagram post he later edited, Peterson allegedly called the jacket “blasphemy.”
“You should thank God, son!” wrote Peterson supposedly. “This is blasphemy! We all fell short but come on man! I think it’s disrespectful.”
After editing the post, Peterson said he had spoken with Hamlin and that they were able to discuss his “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 that the jacket was disrespectful and something I needed to share,” Peterson wrote.
“I realize that everyone makes mistakes and falls short sometimes, so again, my intention was never to judge, just to share my opinion. Damar, I have respect and love for you, and I only wish you the best, but I don’t like that jacket.”
“I feel like there are a lot of people, young and old, who look up to you and with power and influence comes a great responsibility. I apologize for offending you, I just felt offended at that moment as a man who loves and respects our Lord and Savior, Yeshua. After speaking with Damar, I understand that it was not with bad intentions,” he added.
Damar Hamlin’s explanation
Hamlin addressed the criticism his jacket had received. “After talking to my parents I understand how my jacket could offend some people,” he wrote on Twitter.
“It was never my intention to hurt or disrespect anyone, the coat is abstract art for me. It says Eternal, which I am eternally grateful to my Savior!”
“My beliefs and my relationship with God are not tied to symbolic images. I will learn from this and continue to walk in Love as I ALWAYS have. Matthew 7:1-5,” he added.
In his first television appearance since crashing in the first quarter of a game between the Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2, Hamlin said he’s “very good” physically, but he’s “still working” things emotionally.
“Every morning and every night I take a deep breath 10 times and that puts everything in perspective for me. I’m doing great,” Hamlin said in an interview with Good Morning America.
“I’m still trying to process all the emotions and trauma that comes from dealing with a situation like that and not really having people around — no one in my immediate circle — who have dealt with something like that.”