In the days since Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed during a football game and had to be taken to a hospital in Cincinnati, some people have used his near-fatal injury as a vessel to spread their particular flavor of Christianity via prayers, distracting from more pressing issues and denying credit from the medical personnel who saved Hamlin’s life.
This isn’t a general rant against prayer. There are plenty of important conversations we should be having right now, like how the NFL doesn’t prioritize the safety of its players, and if the game’s health protocols and equipment are offering players enough protection, and whether viewers have any moral culpability by watching a violent game with little regard for the humanity of the athletes. It’s also useful to talk about the medical response to Hamlin’s collapse.
But it’s disgusting how some people have used the tragedy to advance their personal religious agenda.
I’m not talking about Hamlin’s teammates who formed a prayer circle on the field after he was taken off the field and into an ambulance. If that’s how they deal with grief or bond as a team, it’s their business. (Unlike a public high school or college, the NFL is a private league and there’s nothing illegal about it. Bremerton, this is not.) The same goes for family members or coaches who said publicly that they’re praying for his safety. If you’re mad about that, you’re just looking for something to be mad about.
What’s frustrating is watching someone like ESPN football analyst Dan Orlovsky deliver Christian prayers on TV on behalf of Damar Hamlin rather than offering useful analysis:
When your purposely blind and / or delusional, nothing matters. There’s no such thing as reason, common sense, decency, or anything good for that matter. Blind obedience and not questioning are the norms.