Damar Hamlin responds to backlash over cartoon crucifix jacket he wore to Super Bowl
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Featured Image Credit: REUTERS / dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo
Damar Hamlin has taken to Twitter after being heavily criticised for wearing a jacket with a cartoon crucifix design to the Super Bowl.
On Sunday, 12 February - a month after suffering a cardiac arrest on the pitch during the Buffalo Bills vs Cincinnati Bengals game - Damar Hamlin attended the 2023 Super Bowl.
While fans were relieved to see the football safety alive and well, the 24-year-old's $3,150 (£2,600) jacket designed by Takashi Murakami caused quite the stir because of a cartoon crucifix on the back of it.
One fan wrote: "I’m absolutely disgusted by Damar Hamlin’s jacket choice at the Super Bowl.
"This is not how you pay homage to God, especially after he saved your life. This is blatant mockery and I don’t like this not one bit."
Another said: "Damar Hamlin at the Super Bowl seems to be mocking Jesus Christ on his jacket or am I misreading this?"
The coat also received backlash from fellow NFL player Adrian Peterson.
In a since-edited Instagram post, Peterson wrote: "So I spoke with @d.ham3 Damar, and we were able to discuss our thoughts as men.
"I want to be clear, I’m the last person to judge anyone, and that was never my intention.
"However, I do feel as if the jacket was disrespectful and it was something that I needed to share. I do realize 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. 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!"
Now, Hamlin has taken to Twitter to explain his interpretation of the jacket.
The Buffalo Bills player wrote: "After talking with my parents I understand how my coat could have offended some people.
"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 may have left fans questioning his faith as a result of his fashion choices, but in an interview with Good Morning America, the NFL star credited God for helping him recover from his cardiac arrest and for him still being alive today.
Hamlin said: "I'm just thankful [God] gave me a second chance, you know, just to live normally and just come out almost without a scratch on me.
"Just to be able to keep going."
Topics: Celebrity, Sport, Super Bowl, Fashion, Instagram