The National Football League has been mired in endless controversy, but the tale of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin proved to be a rare bright spot for the league. Everyone has been talking about the humanity of this highly unusual story. A business that reportedly earned $18 billion in total revenue from its 2021 season literally put a person’s life ahead of one of the most anticipated games of the 2022 regular season with implications for seeding playoff rankings.
Not only did the league quickly decide to suspend the game in front of a sold-out crowd for a primetime TV audience of 23.8 million viewers, the most in ESPN history, but it later ruled that the contest wouldn’t be continued at all. Suddenly, this violent sport was wrapped in a national outpouring of love, support and concern for a single player. Everyone from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, team owners, coaches, trainers, players and referees to first responders, fans at the game and the viewing public showed immense compassion. As humans, we come together in times of tragedy and times of triumph.
We provide support and encouragement for each other. Oftentimes, especially days like these, we forget that’s our nature. But we were reminded of that when Hamlin collapsed following a routine tackle and went into cardiac arrest at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. It’s also worth noting that the 24-year-old who laid motionless on the gridiron was playing for the visiting squad in front of fans who were rooting against his team. Yet, you could hear a pin drop in that stadium as everyone anxiously awaited word on whether this fallen player would be okay. Hamlin’s recovery has been nothing short of remarkable, an uplifting reminder about the upside of the human condition.