Despite criticism for the jacket he wore to Super Bowl LVII being criticized as blasphemous by some, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin said he did not mean to “hurt or disrespect anyone.”
At State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, Hamlin attended the NFL season finale between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles, and was honored before the game with the medical personnel who performed lifesaving CPR on him when he suffered a cardiac arrest during a game in January and oversaw his recovery before kickoff.
The 24-year-old was seen wearing a jacket depicting Jesus on the back with the word “Eternal” emblazoned above it. There is no day or night without end and no beginning, as the phrase on the front says. The portrayal of Jesus, however, has been criticized, especially by NFL star Adrian Peterson.
2012 NFL MVP Peterson reportedly called the jacket “blasphemy” in a since edited Instagram post. “You should be thanking God son!” Peterson reportedly wrote. “This is blasphemy!! We all fall short, but c’mon man! This is disrespectful.”
Power and influence come with great responsibility when there are so many people looking up to you, young and old. It is my sincerest apologies that I offended you, but I just felt offended at that moment as someone who loves and respects our Lord and Savior, Yeshua. After speaking with Damar, I understand that it wasn’t intended to offend you!”
Having edited the post, Peterson said he had spoken to Hamlin and the two “were able to discuss our thoughts as men.” “I’m not the one to judge anyone, and I never intended to do so,” Peterson wrote. In spite of this, Peterson felt the jacket was disrespectful and it was something he needed to share.
It is true that we all make mistakes and fall short at times, so again, my intention was never to judge, just to share my opinion. Damar, I respect and love you and wish you nothing but the best, but that jacket doesn’t rock my world.
“After talking with my parents, I understand how my coat might have offended some people,” Hamlin wrote on Twitter. I never meant to hurt or disrespect anyone with my coat. I see it as abstract art. It says eternity and I am eternally grateful to my Savior for that!
“My beliefs and Relationship with God are not tied to symbolic images. In my first TV appearance since collapsing after making a tackle in the first quarter of a game between the Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals on January 2, Hamlin said he was doing great physically, but is still working through the emotional stuff. Matthew 7:1-5.”
In an interview with Good Morning America, Hamlin said, “I take 10 deep breaths every morning and every night, and it brings everything into perspective for me. I’m doing well.” As I work through things, I am still processing all the emotions and trauma that come from being in a situation like that and not having any people around – no one in my immediate circle has ever dealt with something like that.