The Chicago Bears got flattened by the Detroit Lions on Sunday. They were embarrassed and they proved that while this team was largely devoid of talent this season, when many of their most talented players are hurt, they can’t even field a legitimate NFL team.
I was all set to rant about how Justin Fields needs to be shut down (I’m glad the Bears did make the right call), I was all set to rant about the embarrassing performance and how the dearth of talent around Fields and the awful game he played was the fear that many of us had would be the norm all season long.
It would have been an epic 750 words surely to rile up all the Bears fans.
But then Monday Night Football happened.
What happened to Damar Hamlin was terrifying. The fact that he still lays in a Cincinnati hopsital 48 hours later is also terrifying. The reports have been fairly positive, but we still haven’t heard from a medical professional on his case and the reports we have received are vague.
It puts things in perspective and it certainly doesn’t feel like the week to rant and rave about a poor Bears’ performance. It’s why Hot Take Tuesday comes to you on a Wednesday.
I think all fans, myself included, take NFL players for granted. We love the sport of football and we love watching all day on Sunday, but I think many of us look at them as players and not people.
I suppose it’s the nature of being a public figure. I don’t think people really look at musicians or actors that way either. They are celebrities and public figures and the nature of their professional work brings public scrutiny.
I’m not suggesting that we watch the game differently or that we make massive changes to safety rules, this certainly seems like an extraordinary circumstance that we may never see on the field again. But I hope that all of us can look at these people (the players) differently moving forward.
They are people. They are fallible. They are vulnerable. They certainly aren’t invincible. They aren’t soldiers. They aren’t warriors. They are people who play a sport professionally. They potentially have children they love that are gravely ill. They may have marital problems. They may be struggling with their mental health. They may be struggling with an addiction. They are people. They aren’t just players. They aren’t just names on your fantasy football roster and they aren’t just jerseys to cheer for on Sunday. They are people.
They don’t need to be attacked personally on social media. They don’t need DMs about how they are a screw up because their fumble cost you a fantasy football championship. And if a player isn’t themselves, perhaps we should think about what they could be going through personally before we just assume they have no heart.
NFL players are people. They struggle with things daily just like we all do.
Does this mean I won’t cheer the same way for the Chicago Bears or rant and rave if I disagree with Ryan Poles or don’t think a player should receive a large contract? No, their jobs make them public figures. But I certainly won’t make it personal. And I think all of us should take a step back and make sure that we look at players differently moving forward. That player on your television isn’t just a jersey or a helmet, they are a person and they derserve to be treated as such.
- To donate to Damar Hamlin’s Chasing M’s Community Toy Drive. Please click here.