by Aziah Siid
Monday night’s football game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals ended abruptly and tragically, leaving sports enthusiasts and players alike in shock.
So shocked that on Tuesday, The Nation’s sports editor Dave Zirin soundly denounced NFL football — and called out racism in the sport.
The game is “a gladiatorial combat sport dependent on the Black players, Black bodies, and Black minds who make up 70 percent of the league’s players,” he wrote. “Denying their humanity is an essential part of the NFL’s brand.”
After 24-year-old Bills safety Damar Hamlin took a hit on Monday night, he collapsed on the field, illustrating what many fear about the number one sport in America: death is closer to players than we realize.
According to team officials, Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during the first quarter of the game after a tackle from Bengals receiver Tee Higgins. People in the stadium and millions viewing on television watched for nearly 10 minutes as medical personnel administered CPR and got Hamlin’s heart to beat again — all while players from both teams stood or kneeled around him with tears streaming down their faces.
The game halted for over an hour before National Football Leagues officials announced that it would be postponed. Joe Buck, ESPN’s play-by-play broadcaster, said on air that players were told they’d have “five minutes” to get ready to resume playing.