Tragic moment with Bill’s safety Damar Hamlin reminds us NFL players are people | opinion

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There are times we forget. Sometimes we forget that NFL players are people. They have bones that break and muscles that pull and hearts that pound. They laugh at bad jokes and fall in love and start families. You have dreams and worries.

Despite all this, we sometimes forget their humanity. You do, so do I sometimes. Sometimes we think of them as robots without feelings. Drones with numbers on their backs. We draft them in fantasy football, curse them when they don’t score enough points, think we can do that they can when most of us can barely get off the couch.

There are times, many times, all too often, when most people do not consider them as living beings.

Then something like the horror we saw on Monday night happens. Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin went down in the first quarter of Monday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals after a violent hit on the field. A brutal hit for sure, but the kind of hit we see all the time.

But this was different.

MORE INFORMATION: Buffalo Bills’ Damar Hamlin collapses on the field

Buffalo Bills players react after teammate Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The players stopped. Some started crying and sobbing into the towels. They knew. They absolutely knew this, even with the level of violence they see every week that was different.

There are many things to say about this horrific and tragic case, but if there is one thing we all must do, must do, must always do from this moment on, it is to remember that these are real people. Physically inhuman, sure, but they are human beings who deserve our respect and care, two things they don’t always get from us.

In 30 years of covering sports and seeing some of the most ugly hits and moments on the field and watching the sport crush souls, spines and minds, I have never seen anything like it. I have never seen a player resuscitated on the field. Like many of you, this was the scariest moment I’ve seen while watching sports.

The game stopped properly.

Playoff races, fantasy leagues, and all the other things we’re usually obsessed with seem so small now because they are. They are microscopic compared to this terrifying time.

Former Rams player Andrew Whitworth tweeted, “… to other NFL brothers to reach out to past or current teammates. Put our arms around each other through something like this!”

“So the next time we’re upset about our favorite fantasy player, or we’re upset that the guy on our team isn’t making the play,” said the former NFL player and current analyst for -ESN Ryan Clark the game on the network was suspended, “and we say it’s worth nothing, and we say, ‘You’re going to have to make all this money.’ We should remember that these men are risking their lives to live their dreams.”

And that’s it. That’s the thing to remember. They are well paid and have the opportunity to create generational wealth, but this comes at a high price. It comes in the form of head injuries after multiple concussions or a dozen other lifelong ailments that players have to live with once the games are over.

It moves from one car crash on the field to another. She leaves and enters the blue tent. He told them that the best ability is availability. Sport breeds obedience and contempt for physical and mental health.

Initially, this looked like many other moments we’ve seen when the game stops after a brutal hit – the players gather, hold hands while one player is loaded onto a cart, and when they leave, give a thumbs up.

Not Monday night.

There are times we forget. Sometimes we forget that NFL players are people. We forget that they have life. They take their daughters to school, write “I love you” to their significant other. They are brothers and fathers and caregivers.

You are human.

Let’s never forget that.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Damar Hamlin reminds us that NFL players are people after a tragic moment

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