January 29, 2023

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The NFL’s Delay in Postponing a Painful Football Game Was Unconscionable – Chicago Tribune

The date may only be January 2, but Monday Night Football may be the most agonizing hour of broadcast television Americans will watch all year.

The fault did not lie with the ESPN announcers, who did their best to harness their emotions and fill in an hour of airtime after the field collapse of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin whose heart reportedly stopped, who received CPR on the field, following a tackle during a game with the Cincinnati Bengals.

They tried to talk, even saying the same things over and over again without any new information, without unnecessarily taking advantage of the current situation. The problem was the ridiculous delay in the NFL postponing the game, even as players were groaning over a fellow athlete facing a life-or-death situation. The pain on the players’ faces was very visible to the television audience.

On Tuesday morning, it wasn’t clear why sportscaster Joe Buck repeatedly referred to the prospect of returning players after a short break of only a few minutes, given that the NFL insisted it was never the league’s goal. Certainly, sudden and traumatic events like these can cause a breakdown in decision-making and communication.

However, we’d like to think that any scheduling or competitive issues with delaying a pivotal game late in the season didn’t come into play, given the young player’s life was on hold.

Eventually, famed NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell did the right thing and allowed players and fans to go home with their minds not on football but on the health of Hamlin, who doctors say suffered cardiac arrest. On Tuesday, he was reported to be in critical but stable condition.

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But with the ambulance on the field and CPR required to restore Hamlin’s heartbeat, it certainly took Goodell, who earns $63.9 million a year, a long time to turn the game’s “suspension” into a reprieve, amplifying the emotional distress not only of a stadium packed with fans and players but An entire nation watching on TV and picking up so much faster than the NFL chiefs, when health is on the line in their dangerous game, football should only be an afterthought.

Rather than leave ESPN in a vacuum, Goodell should have been personally in front of the camera as quickly as possible, making this very point and turning everyone’s minds on a talented young man who clearly was fighting for his life.

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