Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin turned heads with his appearance at the Super Bowl, and also attracted some controversy from one former NFL great.
Prior to the start of Sunday’s game in Phoenix, Hamlin appeared on the field alongside training and medical staff members from the Bills and Cincinnati Bengals and others from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. The group was honored for their work in caring for Hamlin after he collapsed on the field during a January 2 game, while Hamlin took home a community service award and took part in an initiative to promote CPR education.
But Hamlin’s choice of attire irked Peterson, who slammed the Bills safety in a viral Instagram post before later walking back his criticism.
Peterson Angry About Hamlin’s Fashion Statement
In his appearance, Hamlin turned heads with a $3,150 jacket from artist Takashi Murakami that had a stylized image of Jesus Christ on the back, Fox San Antonio reported. Some took to social media to complain about what they saw as a blasphemous fashion choice, with Peterson joining those complaining.
“You should be thanking God son!” Peterson wrote on Instagram, via TMZ. “This is Blasphemy!! We all fall short but c’mon man! I find this disrespectful.”
Peterson’s post also earned some pushback, and he later edited the remark to note that he had spoken with Hamlin. The former Minnesota Vikings running back then walked back his initial remarks, saying he understood that Hamlin did not have bad intentions while still criticizing him for the message he believed the jacket sent.
“After speaking with Damar, I have an understanding that it didn’t come from a place of ill intent,” Peterson wrote on Instagram. ” … 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.”
Hamlin Used Spotlight to Promote a Good Cause
Hamlin made a number of appearances in Phoenix during Super Bowl week, accepting the NFLPA Alan Page Community Award on February 8. The Bills safety shared his gratitude for all those who had supported him during the nine days he spent in the hospital following his collapse on the field, and those from around the world who raised more than $9 million for his foundation.
“Giving back to my community has always been a big part of who I am,” Hamlin said, via ESPN. “I’m thankful to my father, who’s right here behind me. Growing up, just watching him do community days in our community, and I just always was waiting on my time when it came.”
Hamlin also took part in an initiative that promoted CPR education. Earlier in the month, Hamlin announced a partnership with the American Heart Association that encouraged people to learn CPR and donation to the organization. The NFL picked up the effort as well, leading CPR education in Phoenix in the days leading up to the Super Bowl.