Why does there have to be a bad guy? Why does there have to be a villain? Why is there a need to blame anybody? Why does this have to be anybody’s fault?
This is a very dark side of human nature, and social media is gobbling the remaining light like a galactic black hole.
Here’s what happened. A wonderful young man suffered an immediately life-threatening injury in what can only be described as a freak accident. This particular injury occurs fewer than 30 times per year in the United States, and its statistical relationship to the sport of football is essentially zero. It is an injury most often seen in Little League baseball, hockey and lacrosse. A sharp and sudden blow from a hard projectile in just the wrong place at just the wrong instant can stun the heart into cardiac arrest.
Here’s what happened then. A large and very talented medical team put into place through meticulous planning by the NFL—as is present at every NFL game—took less than ten seconds to begin life-saving CPR. Damar Hamlin is alive because of that team, and because of that NFL planning. Let me state that again. Damar Hamlin is alive because of that team, and because of that NFL planning.
This was an unprecedented event. And everyone in the loop did their jobs. Everyone. As tragic as this scenario was, human skill, training and compassion were on display throughout.
It was quickly apparent that the game had to be postponed, and exactly NO ONE disagreed. Players and coaches knew that the game would not be resumed. The public announcement of the postponement was handled smoothly, professionally and in a timely manner. You have to make sure all stadium security is in place. You have to have a plan for an unexpected egress from the stadium. You have to have your traffic infrastructure ready to go at an unexpected time. You have to at least be ready to treat emotionally distraught fans and/or players. You have to at all times place the safety of Damar Hamlin and his family as your top priority and objective. You have to inform (not ask permission from) your broadcast partners to let them know what is going on.
This is not like flipping a switch. Delay? Are you kidding? This was all handled remarkably efficiently.
The players, coaches were quickly assured by league officials that there would be no more football. What difference did it make that the league held off on the official public announcement of the postponement until all of the above issues had been addressed? This wasn’t about you. Or me.
There are no bad guys here. In fact, there are heroes everywhere you look. Damar himself, who is clearly fighting gallantly. Damar’s mom and uncle. The Buffalo Bills. The Cincinnati Bengals. Fans of both teams, who immediately came together in love for this good young man. The NFL medical team at the stadium. The medical team at the Cincinnati hospital.
Players from both teams are PRAISING the NFL for the sensitive way this frightening tragedy was handled, as is Damar’s family.
But you have to have somebody to blame, right?
That’s on you, and reflects poorly on both your humanity and your intelligence.