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Leadership of Bobby Wagner and Sean McVay providing courage during difficult week

In wake of Damar Hamlin situation, McVay and Wagner have stood out

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Rams Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I remember there was a time in which I viewed football players as immortal, superhuman even. There wasn’t anything in the world that I didn’t think they could do. They were my heroes and their accomplishments on the field never failed to amaze me.

Anyone who reveres players in this way never sees them as human until life provides an uncomfortable reminder that they’re mortal like the rest of us. Like all of America Monday night, I was horrified by the Damar Hamlin situation. For the first time in my football viewing life, I felt helpless as to what was transpiring on the field.

Yet in the aftermath of an unimaginable tragedy, the football world came together and it was a sight to behold. Legions of fans and figures across the NFL, including Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Sean McVay, donated to Hamlin’s GoFundMe page.

It’s unprecedented times like these that should make fans grateful for the leadership on their respective teams. Players across the league are understandably having difficulty processing what had occurred in Cincinnati earlier this week. The situation was a “chilling” one for McVay to wrap his head around.

“You know, when you’re watching that the other night and the emotions that you feel, sometimes you get so caught up in the competition in this game and you don’t realize the sacrifice and the things that these players do to put themselves out there for a job, but for also the entertainment.” said McVay during his press conference Wednesday via

At the beginning of a team meeting, LA’s head coach deemed it necessary to discuss the situation and make resources available to the players who need them most.

Football is an outlet of entertainment for many, sometimes an unhealthy one at that. We’ll celebrate players at the highest moments and mercilessly ridicule them at their lowest. We’ve seen players being mocked relentlessly on social media and even ones on the receiving end of death threats for making even the smallest mistake.

One of the ugliest aspects of being a sports fan is stripping these athletes of their humanity by placing them on a pedestal that absolutely no one can reach. What we don’t see behind the scenes is the emotional toll that the game inflicts on these players. Bills players were opening weeping for their teammate and brother. That was a natural reaction on their end. Football players are humans, not robots and it’s shocking how often we forget that.

Rams linebacker Bobby Wagner deserves a moment of your time when addressing this very issue:

The days of telling players to “rub some dirt on it” or “man up” are coming to a close. As Wagner mentions, players are human beings. Every person you come across is fighting a battle you wouldn’t even begin to understand. However, the first step towards compassion and understanding is to provide an outlet for those voices to be heard.

I’m proud of McVay and Wagner for speaking up and seeking to change one the most toxic element of the sport. In the new age NFL, we need more players to speak up about their problems because that’ll open the conversation to others lost in the darkness. That level of humanity being displayed sounds pretty super to me.