Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin caused a stir when he wore a jacket featuring a depiction of Jesus at the Super Bowl LVII, which led former NFL star Adrian Peterson to accuse him of “blasphemy”.
Peterson, a devout Christian, criticized Hamlin on Instagram, saying “You should be thanking God son! This is Blasphemy!! We all fall short but c’mon man! I find this disrespectful.”
Despite the initial backlash, Peterson and Hamlin later had a conversation and cleared the air. Peterson apologized for offending Hamlin but maintained his belief that the jacket was disrespectful.
The jacket, designed by artist Takashi Murakami with a price tag of $3,150, was spotted on Hamlin as he sat in the stands alongside Donna Kelce, the mother of Jason and Travis Kelce, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
The photo of Hamlin wearing the jacket alongside NBA superstar LeBron James went viral, splitting fans on social media over the attire.
In the weeks since Hamlin’s on-field cardiac arrest during the Bills’ game against the Cincinnati Bengals on January 2, he has expressed his faith and thanked God for his recovery. During an emotional speech at the NFL honors on February 9, Hamlin spoke about his experience and credited God for his survival.
Hamlin collapsed on the field after a collision with Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins during the Bills’ Week 17 game against Cincinnati. Bills medical staffer Denny Kellington resuscitated him by performing CPR for roughly nine minutes before he was rushed to a Cincinnati hospital. He was later transferred to a Buffalo medical facility and has since been discharged.
Hamlin made a miraculous recovery and was honored on the field at the Super Bowl LVII Sunday, which was a moment of joy and celebration for many in the NFL and the sporting world. However, the controversy surrounding his jacket highlights the divide between different beliefs and perspectives, even within the same faith.
Peterson and Hamlin’s conversation as men is a testament to the importance of respectful dialogue and understanding. While they may still disagree on the appropriateness of the jacket, they were able to communicate and find common ground. As Peterson stated, “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.”
The incident serves as a reminder that in a diverse and complex world, it is essential to approach each other with compassion, empathy, and open-mindedness. As Hamlin continues his journey of recovery and reflection, his experience can inspire us all to strive for greater understanding and acceptance, even when we may not see eye to eye.