Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is one of the most notable players in the NFL today.
As a spokesman for the game at large, he took a moment on Tuesday to address the biggest story in the sport: what happened to Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin one day earlier.
Hamlin, 24, suffered cardiac arrest during a Monday Night Football match-up between the Bills and Cincinnati Bengals. CPR had to be performed for him on 10 minutes before he was rushed to the hospital.
In a conversation with Pat McAfee, Rodgers got very honest about the Hamlin situation.
“I think there needs to be, a, you know, conversation around it,” he said.
“I don’t think you can just gloss it over and ‘Oh, onto to ‘Sunday Night Football’ play-in game for the playoffs.’ It’s like, let’s take a little timeout here. Let’s remember what’s really important.
“Let’s hug your loved ones, text the people you care about, tell them you love them because this is a good moment to pause and contemplate and reflect and show some empathy and respect not just for Hamlin but every player that laces them up every single week.”
Specifically, Rodgers wants everyone to understand the impact this situation had on players league-wide.
“Whether you’re currently playing or done playing, you’re shook by this because you don’t think you’d ever see something like this on the field,” he continued.
“It’s bad enough when you see a guy gets carted off, right? That messes with you. Or when you see a guy take a really bad concussive shot, and you’re like, ‘Man, I don’t want that to be me.’ Am I going to have my cognitive function when I’m 50, 60? What kind of risk am I really setting myself up for. This kid’s 24 years old, right? This really, it f***ed me up last night.”
NFL quarterbacks have really stepped up in a big way over the past couple of days. Joe Burrow’s classy move on Monday was one instance of that, and Rodgers’ poignant words are just the latest example.
It serves in stark contrast to the behavior of certain talking heads like Skip Bayless, which probably explains why his show is about to come to an end.
Some people may not like Rodgers (including, most recently, his latest girlfriend) over various perceived issues – but there is no denying that he steps up when it matters most.
The Ohio State fan who went viral during the Georgia game has been identified. https://t.co/muz1AmiH6A
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 3, 2023
And this week, when the NFL needed its faces of the league to act in a mature and sensible way, Rodgers did precisely that.
Hopefully the league will heed Rodgers’ advice and provide its players with proper time to come to terms with what transpired.
Hamlin’s health and the wellbeing of the players at large is what matters most right now, not the games themselves.
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