Super Bowl winning former NFL coach Tony Dungy slammed an article about the “terrifyingly ordinary” violence against Black men playing in the league as “absolutely ridiculous.”
Scientific American published an opinion piece by Tracie Canada, an Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University, who researches Black college football players to “theorize” about race and gender.
On Friday, Canada used Buffalo Bills Damar Hamlin’s freak injury to posit that the “terrifyingly ordinary nature of football’s violence disproportionately affects Black men.”
The 24-year-old safety suffered cardiac arrest after Cincinnati Bengals’ receiver Tee Higgins’ helmet collided with his chest during a tackle on Monday Night Football.
Medical staff immediately performed CPR and administered automated external defibrillation to restart Hamlin’s heart, before he was carted off by ambulance to University of Cincinnati Medical Center and the game was cancelled.
Canada wrote that this kind of “ordinary violence has always riddled the sport and it affects all players,” but asserted that But Black players are “disproportionately affected.”
She noted that Black men are “severely underrepresented in positions of power” in the organizations, but are “underrepresented on the gridiron.”
According to the Washington Post, 70% of football players in the NFL are Black, as of 2022.
Canada added that Black athletes are subject to “racial stacking,” which entails coaches racially segregating players by their positions, which she claims puts them at “higher risk during play.”
“As a black man and former NFL player I can say this article is absolutely ridiculous,” Dungy replied to the Scientific American’s Twitter post on Friday.
He wasn’t the only one to disparage the article. “If a *science* magazine publishes an opinion piece claiming that football injuries are racist, can you really ever take them seriously again? The ratio is well deserved,” someone posted.
“Let me assure you that there are white people lined up miles long to get into this league,” added another.
“To the degree that it’s “disproportionately affecting black men”, it would only be because the black men earned the roster spot the white guys also wanted. This article is pure garbage.”
“A large percentage of NFL players are black, so….” One person helpfully pointed out about the demographics of the league.
“I remember when Scientific American actually reported about science. Yes, I am that old,” somebody criticized.
“Thank you for continually affirming that I made the right choice to cancel my subscription,” wrote an ex-reader.
This isn’t Canada’s only hot take on the NFL, last July, she published an opinion piece on the website titled: “The NFL’s Racist ‘Race Norming’ Is an Afterlife of Slavery.”
Hamlin was honored across the NFL by players, coaches, and fans during Week 18, as he recovers in a Cincinnati hospital bed, surrounded by family.
Bills players waved flags with his name and jersey number on them when they took the field, and had number “3” patches stitched onto their jerseys as they handily defeated the New England Patriots 35-22 on Sunday afternoon.
Hamlin, who woke up on Thursday and came off a ventilator on Friday, live tweeted along with the game.
“GameDay.. Nothing I Want More Than To Be Running Out That Tunnel With My Brothers,” he posted.
“God Using Me In A Different Way Today. Tell Someone You Love Them Today!”
He is still in critical condition, but is expected to be released from the hospital in the next few days.
Though most of the league was all about love for Hamlin, not everyone handled the situation with sensitivity.
Two Pittsburgh Steelers players drew ire for how they celebrated linebacker Alex Highsmith sacking Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson during their 28-14 win on Sunday.
After the hit, Highsmith was on the ground on his back, when another player performed mock CPR on him, then offered a hand up. The internet was not pleased by the “classless” celebration.
“Steelers imitating CPR on the field after everything that just happened with Damar is trash. Idgaf if they do it all the time – READ THE ROOM IDIOTS,” someone blasted.
“This is one of the most classless disgusting act. A kid from Pittsburgh almost dies and needed CPR on the field and this a a celebration. The Steelers should be absolutely embarrassed,” another added.