There are no words to describe what happened on the Cincinnati football field Monday night. Unfortunately, there are words to describe the ongoing debate between ESPN and the NFL over what was said on air about a very serious, life-threatening situation.
During the Bengals-Bills game, Buffalo safety Dummer Hamlin suffered a life-threatening injury, went into cardiac arrest and was hospitalized in critical condition after undergoing grueling CPR on the turf.
It was one of the biggest games of the season, a Super Bowl contender matchup, the #1 team to have a marquee player, and was in the “Monday Night Football” spotlight slot on ABC and ESPN.
Joe Buck of St. Louis was on the phone and treated his description of the horrific development calmly. , Hamlin’s injury was revealed to be very serious. Bills quarterback Josh Allen was ripped, hands over his face, and the player kneeling on the field.
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“I have nothing to say right now,” Buck told the audience.
Later, after Hamlin was taken to hospital, Buck said on several broadcasts that the team had been told the game would resume.
“They were given five minutes to prepare to go back to play,” Buck said. “It’s a word we’ve taken from the league, a word we’ve taken from the field. But nobody moves.”
Hours later, after it was finally decided that play would not continue that night, NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent strongly disagreed with Buck’s comments.
“It never crossed our minds to discuss warming up to resume play,” he said on a conference call with members of the media. “Ridiculous. It’s insensitive. And that’s not where we should be.”
When asked by the Post-Dispatch this week, Buck declined to discuss the issue. However, he touched on it in a conversation with Andrew Marchand of the New York Post shortly after the game was suspended (and eventually canceled), and was informed by colleague John Parry about plans to resume play. I said I received the information. Leagues across ESPN games.
Vincent would have been much better off publicly keeping quiet since it looks like someone wasn’t telling the truth. It’s either Buck, whose integrity has never been an issue in his 21st season as lead play-by-play announcer, or Parry. He has been an NFL referee for his 12 years, has officiated multiple Super Bowls, and is also his analyst on ESPN’s NFL Rules.
It also casts a dark light on the network’s credibility across NFL operations. As a result, we have reported what we have been told at this time and updated fans as soon as we had new information. All night we refrained from speculation. ”
ESPN “SportsCenter” host Scott Van Pelt sounded furious when he addressed the situation that night.
“The league can say whatever it wants (about resuming play). ”
The NFL has received a lot of criticism in recent years for its past and current players’ treatment of injury situations, including concussions, and is sensitive to the issue.
And, as fans of the market who have left in recent years can attest, including when the league’s relocation guidelines were blatantly ignored, it has earned a reputation for taking a final first approach. It even took money from the U.S. military to publicly “honor” military personnel at games, but the NFL wasn’t the only professional sports organization to practice that practice.
The recent controversy is disappointing at a time when the focus should be on men fighting for their lives.
Such an open rift between ESPN and the league, which pays $2.7 billion a year for NFL rights, is highly unusual, highlighted by the network’s statement striking back at the league. And that leads to questions that reasonable people would ask:
Why would a Buck or a Parry make something like that? What would be the benefit? Why did you see Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow throwing a ball? Why did Bills receiver Stephon Diggs rally his teammates to the sidelines, and conversely, denying the story in an attempt to protect the NFL’s reputation could benefit his NFL? There is a nature.
Buck told the New York Post the night of the incident about his approach to explaining the situation — not what Vincent said.
It’s a shame Vincent couldn’t heed those words, or simply said they contained a “misunderstanding”. Continuing to attack on a dark night is of no use to anyone.
Now, Buck continues, calling the Tennessee-Jacksonville game for the AFC South Title on Saturday night on ESPN/ABC. Once it’s on track, his focus will be on that game. But the events of Monday will haunt him for a long time.
And while he didn’t want to discuss the controversy with Post-Dispatch, he looked back with pride on how the crew handled the gruesome scene.
ESPN took a back seat not only from commentators (which Buck said was “unconvincing and not speculating”), but also from the production team who failed to demonstrate some of the disastrous steps to try to save Hamlin. showed. They were “as bad as you can imagine,” Buck told the Post-Dispatch.
Thankfully, updates about his condition became more positive as the week progressed, but it was a sobering situation.
“It’s a reminder that it’s human to play these games, with life and family,” says Buck, 53, noting that many players like Hamlin are only in their mid-twenties. “That’s when I went into ‘dad mode.’ It was my family. I feel like I treated everyone related to Damar the way I wanted to.
“The only thing that matters is how he does it.”