Six weeks following his collapse on the field from a cardiac arrest, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin apologized after being called out for wearing a jacket that many saw as blasphemous for its artistic depiction of Jesus Christ.
(Video Credit: Fox Sports)
The white letterman jacket had yellow wording and designs on it. The part of it many found objectionable was the altered face of Jesus that was on the front left breast of the jacket as well as the back of it with the word “Eternal” displayed.
“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!‘ Hamlin proclaimed in a tweet. “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.”
Hamlin has been the subject of intense media coverage after his collapse. Following his first interview after the incident where he refused to comment on what doctors said led to the event, many speculated it had to do with the NFL preventing him from speaking about it and/or a COVID vaccination.
Former NFL multi-time all-pro running back Adrian Peterson labeled the jacket “blasphemy.” He is a devout Christian and slammed Hamlin on social media telling him, “You should be thanking God son! This is Blasphemy!! We all fall short but c’mon man! I find this disrespectful. #grateful #goddid.”
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
Damar Hamlin suggests what we were all thinking regarding his life-threatening injury…https://t.co/J6NJilNWsK
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) February 16, 2023
Later Peterson would edit his post saying that he and Hamlin had resolved the issue and apologized for offending Hamlin. But he still called it disrespectful.
“So I spoke with Damar, and we were able to discuss our thoughts as men,” Peterson noted in his amended caption. “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. 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. I feel like there are a lot people, young and old, looking up to you and with power and influence comes great responsibility,” he continued. “I apologize for offending you, I just felt offended in that moment as a man who loves and respects our Lord and Savior, Yeshua. After speaking with Damar, I have an understanding that it didn’t come from a place of ill intent!”
Count @AdrianPeterson among those who aren't happy with @HamlinIsland pic.twitter.com/tOKke6YTLe
— Sean Joseph (@sjoseph_sports) February 13, 2023
The jacket was designed by artist Takashi Murakami. It reportedly costs $3,150 according to TMZ. Hamlin wore it in the stands while sitting next to Donna Kelce, the mother of Jason and Travis Kelce, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
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