Buffalo Bills defensive back Damar Hamlin, injured in a January game and feted for his wonderful recovery in the weeks since, apologized this week for wearing a controversial jacket at the Super Bowl that appeared to contradict his stated Christian beliefs.
One former NFL star, Adrian Peterson, went so far as to call the jacket blasphemous.
“You should be thanking God son! This is Blasphemy!! We all fall short but cmon man! I find this disrespectful!!” Peterson shared on his Instagram account.
“But this was different! I know young people don’t think at times, older as well! But with everything surrounding his situation!! This isn’t one of those moments where it’s a young guy not thinking!” he added.
“Our prayers might have saved his life, but apparently not his soul,” Stew Peters wrote on Twitter.
Here’s a better view of Damar Hamlin’s blasphemous jacket.
Our prayers might have saved his life, but apparently not his soul. pic.twitter.com/Xdz1D8IoSo
— Stew Peters (@realstewpeters) February 13, 2023
Fox News described the jacket as featuring “what appeared to be an image of Jesus Christ on his left breast and a message on his right side that read, “Without end or beginning there is no day and there is no night.” On the back of the jacket, it read, “Eternal,” with Jesus on the cross.”
In the aftermath of the controversy, Hamlin reappeared in the public eye, offering an apology on his Twitter account.
“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 tweeted.
“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.”
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
Adrian Peterson also provided an update to the situation, as reported by Fox News, saying he had personally followed up with Hamlin in the days after both men ignited a heated debate, with Hamlin wearing the jacket and Peterson calling him out for it.
“So I spoke with Damar, and we were able to discuss our thoughts as men. I want to be clear, I’m the last person to judge anyone, and that was never my intention,” Peterson said on social media. “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. 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!”
Hamlin was feted over Super Bowl weekend in Phoenix, making an appearance at the NFL Honors ceremony and later appearing on field for the big game between the eventual champions Kansas City Chiefs and their rivals the Philadelphia Eagles.
Hamlin also appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America for a full interview. Check it out:
Featured image: Screen shot from embedded YouTube video via ABC.
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