There are occasions we forget. There are occasions we forget that NFL players are human. They’ve bones that break and muscles that pull and hearts that pound. They laugh at bad jokes and fall in love and construct families. They’ve dreams and cares.
Despite all of that, there are occasions we forget their humanity. You do it, so have I, now and again. There are occasions we expect of them as robots with no feelings. Drones with numbers on their backs. We draft them in fantasy football, curse them after they don’t rating enough points, think we are able to do what they’ll when most of us can barely get off the couch.
There are occasions, loads of times, too again and again, when many individuals don’t consider them as living beings.
Then something just like the horror that we saw on Monday night happens. Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the sector in the primary quarter of Monday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals after a violent hit. A brutal hit needless to say, however the sort of hit we see on a regular basis.
But this was different.
Players stopped of their tracks. Some began crying, sobbing into towels. They knew. They absolutely knew that even for the extent of violence they see every week, this was different.
There are a lot of things to say about this scary and tragic case, but when there’s one thing all of us have to do from here, must do, should always do from this moment forward, is remember these are actual people. Physically superhuman, needless to say, but they’re individuals who deserve our respect and care, two things they do not at all times receive from us.
In 30 years of covering the game, and watching a few of the ugliest hits and moments on the sector, and seeing how the game crushes souls and spines and minds, I’ve never seen anything like this. I’ve never witnessed a player getting CPR on the sector. Like most of you, this was the scariest moment I’ve witnessed watching the game.
The sport stopped, because it must have.
The playoff race, fantasy championships and all the other things we normally obsess over seem so small now, because they’re. They’re microscopic in comparison with this frightening time.
Former Rams player Andrew Whitworth tweeted: “… to fellow NFL brothers reach out to teammates former or current. Put our arms around one another through something like this!”
Former NFL player and current ESPN analyst Ryan Clark, on the network after the sport was suspended, said: “So the following time we get upset at our favourite fantasy player, or we’re upset that the guy on our team doesn’t make the play, and we’re saying he’s worthless, and we’re saying, ‘You get to make all this money’ – we should always remember these men are putting their lives on the road to live their dream.”
And that’s it. That’s the thing to recollect. They’re paid well they usually are given the power to create generational wealth, but that comes at a vicious price. It is available in the shape of head trauma after quite a few concussions or a dozen other lifelong ailments players need to live with once the games end.
They move from one on-field automotive crash to a different. They leave and enter the blue tent. They’re told the most effective ability is availability. The game breeds obedience and the ignoring of physical and mental health.
Initially, this appeared like so many other moments we have seen when play stops after a brutal hit – players gather, hold hands as a player is carried onto a cart, and as he leaves, he gives the thumbs-up.
Not on Monday night.
There are occasions we forget. There are occasions we forget that NFL players are human. We forget they’ve lives. They take their daughters to highschool, they text their significant others “I like you.” They’re brothers and fathers and caregivers.
Let’s always remember that.