For a change, the National Football League is an organization the whole nation can actually root for.
After years of infuriating, unnecessary conflicts spurred by national anthem protesters and over-the-top Black Lives Matter virtue-signaling, the NFL is presenting itself in a positive light in its response to the collapse Monday night of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin.
And some of the biggest names in the game are getting involved.
According to CBS Sports, donations to the GoFundMe charity Hamlin established after finishing his college football career, The Chasing M’s Foundation, have risen to more than $6.5 million, driven by NFL players and fans who were appalled by the scene that played out during the “Monday Night Football” game at Cincinnati’s Paycor Stadium.
Hamlin collapsed in the first quarter of the Bills game against the Cincinnati Bengals, suffering cardiac arrest on the field. After undergoing CPR, he was rushed to Cincinnati to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center where he remained in critical condition on Wednesday, though his health is said to be moving in a “positive direction.”
In the overnight hours after the collapse, donations to The Chasing M’s Foundation rose from just over $2,900 to more than $3 million. Those donations were largely from fans.
Since then, major names in the NFL have been kicking in, too.
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford has given $12,000, according to CBS. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady has given $10,000, as have Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson and his wife, Ciara.
According to CBS Sports, other players or former players who have donated $1,000 or more include Davante Adams of the Las Vegas Raiders; Myles Bryant, Brian Hoyer, Marcus Jones, Devin McCourty and Lawrence Guy of the New England Patriots; Lloyd Cushenberry of the Denver Broncos; Andy Dalton of the New Orleans Saints; George Kittlel, Trey Lance and Christian McCaffrey of the San Francisco 49ers; Drake London of the Atlanta Falcons; Jason McCourty, formerly of the Tennessee Titans; Shannon Sharpe, formerly of the Broncos; and Andrew Whitworth, formerly of the Bengals.
It’s important to note that this list is by no means exhaustive. It’s a good bet that any player who ever laced a pair of cleats wants to show some measure of respect for 24-year-old Hamlin and the injury he suffered.
Meanwhile, among NFL franchises, according to CBS Sports, team donations included the New England Patriots at $18,003; the Houston Texans at $10,003; the Washington Commanders at $5,000; and the Seattle Seahawks at $1,000.
(For the curious, the extra $3 in the Patriots’ and the Texans’ donations matches Hamlin’s No. 3 jersey number.)
And some players are putting a more personal touch on their support.
According to KMSP-TV in Minneapolis, Harrison Phillips, a defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings who had a locker next to Hamlin’s when Phillips played for the Bills, splurged for a sandwich dinner on Tuesday for Hamlin’s family, team staffers and the entire medical crew taking care of the Bills player. He is planning a Chipotle buffet dinner for Wednesday night.
Phillips also announced that his own charity, Harrison’s Playmakers, would be accepting contributions for “pay-it-forward” events in honor of Hamlin in the future.
It’s a cliche, of course, that good can come out of bad, but the whole reason cliches stick around is that they tend to be true.
In this case, the injury Hamlin suffered on the field was horrific — and every decent human being can do nothing but hope and pray that the young man regains his health.
For many NFL fans, his full recovery would be the only truly good ending. It’s no doubt what Hamlin’s family is hoping for.
But in the meanwhile, the country is at least getting to see an NFL in operation without the painful divisiveness the league has inflicted on the country for more than half-a-decade, which has cost it many fans.
The fact that some of the biggest names in the sport are involved — not all of them universally popular — is a bonus the whole country should be able to appreciate.
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