CINCINNATI — Damar Hamlin's family is calling for the criticism of Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins to stop.
Higgins was the last person to make contact with the Bills safety before he collapsed on the field. Hamlin performed what looked like a routine tackle on Higgins in the first quarter of Monday Night Football. He got up, then immediately fell.
In a statement, the Bills said Hamlin went into cardiac arrest. Medics rushed to the field, rendering aid before taking him to UC Medical Center. He remains in critical condition in the ICU.
Bengals head coach Zac Taylor and quarterback Joe Burrow both said Higgins has been handling the situation well.
"My communication with him is that he's doing OK," Taylor said of Higgins.
On ESPN, former NFL linebacker Bart Scott spoke about how Higgins should have been penalized for lowering his helmet toward Hamlin's chest during the tackle. Many people, including Pro Bowler Micah Parsons and former Bengal Andrew Whitworth, spoke out against a narrative that Higgins was at fault.
"This was a freak incident but putting fault on another player is wild," Parsons tweeted.
Yoo are we serious?!!?why do we let some people speak on tv?! This was a freak incident but putting fault on another player is wild! They should make some of these guys go over lines or something or not even give them a seat at the table! https://t.co/ctJVfu6cuf— Micah Parsons (@MicahhParsons11) January 4, 2023
Parson continued, saying, "(he) does not even consider how Tee Higgins feels before airing (that)! That traumatic event he just went through!"
Whitworth called out the "hot takes" on Twitter.
"It’s about our brotherhood putting our arms around each other and pulling closer together for our brothers! Not that BS," Whitworth said.
I feel you young legend! On every level! Like bro, it’s not about this guy and his hot takes right now! It’s about our brotherhood putting our arms around each other and pulling closer together for our brothers! Not that BS!— Andrew Whitworth (@AndrewWhitworth) January 4, 2023
Scott later said on Twitter that in the first segment of the show he spoke about how what happened was a freak incident.
"Why don’t you spread the clip from the first segment where I state that (it) was (an) accident and no one was at fault," he tweeted. "And that I was happy his mother was there to console him."
Get them clicks my dude why don’t you spread the clip from the first segment where I state that is was a accident and no one was at fault. And that I was happy his mother was there to console him.— Bart Scott #CantWait 🏈 (@BartScott57) January 4, 2023
Higgins has only posted once since Monday night, tweeting that his prayers are with Hamlin and his family.
"I’m praying that you pull through bro," Higgins said.
My prayers and thoughts go out to @HamlinIsland the Hamlin Family. I’m praying that you pull through bro. Love 🙏🏾💙— Tee Higgins⁵ (@teehiggins5) January 3, 2023
Higgins' mother also tweeted out her support.
When speaking with multiple reporters outside UCMC, family friend Jordon Rooney said Hamlin's parents have been frustrated by criticism of Higgins. He said Higgins has reached out and been supportive of the family.