Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin said Wednesday he never intended to offend anyone for attending the Super Bowl wearing a jacket that critics deemed to feature an offensive depiction of Jesus.
“After talking with my parents I understand how my coat could have offended some people,” Hamlin wrote in a note posted on his Twitter account. “It was never my intentions to hurt or disrespect anyone, the coat is abstract art to me.”
Hamlin closed his two-post thread by saying he will continue to learn from the situation while adding: “My beliefs and Relationship with God is not tied to symbolic images.”
The second-year player, who continues recovering after having to be resuscitated on the field after going into cardiac arrest during a game in Cincinnati six weeks ago, created a stir for being pictured wearing a Kanye West Eternal Saint blue varsity jacket during pregame ceremonies and sitting in NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s box at the Super Bowl in Arizona on Sunday.
The back of the jacket featured an abstract illustration of Jesus on the cross under the word “ETERNAL.” The front featured an abstract depiction of Jesus’ face and appears to reference a Bible verse that reads: “Without end or beginning there is no day and no night.”
Among the critics were former NFL running back Adrian Peterson, who referred to the jacket as “blasphemy” on Monday.
A day later, Peterson wrote in an Instagram post that he has since cleared the air with Hamlin.
“After speaking with Damar, I have an understanding that it didn’t come from a place of ill intent,” Peterson wrote. “I apologize for offending you, I just felt offended in that moment as a man who loves and respects our Lord and Savior.”
Hamlin, who received the NFLPA’s Alan Page Community Award last week, took part in a pregame ceremony in which the NFL honored the Bills and Bengals training and medical staffs and first responders who treated the 24-year-old from the Pittsburgh area on the field, and the staff at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he spent nearly a week recovering.