Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin apologized for wearing a jacket deemed by some as being "blasphemous" at Super Bowl LVII, one of his few public appearances since suffering cardiac arrest during a cancelled game on January 2.
"After talking with my parents I understand how my coat could have offended some people," Hamlin tweeted on Wednesday (February 15). "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!
"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's apology comes after former NFL MVP Adrian Peterson deemed the jacket as "blasphemy" for its portrayal of religious imagery.
"You should be thanking God son!" Peterson wrote in since-deleted Instagram post. "This is Blasphemy!! We all fall short but cmon man! I find this disrespectful!!"
Peterson later shared another post confirming he and Hamlin "were able to discuss our thoughts as men" and realized "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," Peterson wrote. 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 has specifically referenced his faith during his few public appearances since suffering cardiac arrest last month. The safety was joined by Bills and Cincinnati Bengals medical staffers, as well as University of Cincinnati Medical Center medical workers who treated him on stage during the live broadcast of the 12th annual NFL Honors ceremony last Thursday (February 9).
"My entire life I felt like God was using me to give others hope and now with the new set of circumstances I can only say He's doing what He's always done," Hamlin said. "I have a long journey ahead, a journey full of unknowns and a journey full of milestones, but it's a lot easier to face your fears when you know your purpose."
Hamlin also said he intends to resume his NFL career, "but I'm allowing that to be in God's hands," during an exclusive interview with Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Strahan for Good Morning America that aired Monday (February 13) morning.
The 24-year-old tackled Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins during the first quarter of the January 2 game and got back to his feet before suddenly falling to the ground. A stretcher and ambulance came onto the field and CPR was administered by first responders.
Hamlin was hospitalized at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and initially reported to be in critical condition before making a miraculous recovery, which coincided with an outpouring of support from players, coaches and fans. A GoFundMe page initially launched by Hamlin's Chasing M's Foundation to support a toy drive prior to his medical situation -- and later to support his recovery after far exceeding its $2,500 goal -- raised more than $9 million.
The Pittsburgh native was released from UC Medical Center one week after suffering cardiac arrest and discharged from Buffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular Institute after completing a series of tests and evaluations two days later.
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