“Don’t Call Him a Hero”

Timothy Vaughn and Damar Hamlin

Damar Hamlin

Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest after being hit during an NFL game; many called him, and the episode generally, “heroic” but police officer Timothy Vaughn was having none of that.

Vaughn wrote,

“The [hero] narrative compares “football players” to our soldiers and police officers”…elevating “football players” to hero status by claiming they “bravely risk their lives for America.”

In his widely shared Facebook comment Vaughn refers to Hamlin as

  • him
  • his
  • this man
  • the man
  • a young player
  • a young man

but never by his name.

That’s odd, to say the least.

If Vaughn started on the offense, he was quickly forced onto defense in a lengthy followup comment where in the fourth paragraph he finally utters Hamlin’s first name, perhaps because he had exhausted his supply of pronouns and articles.

Damar Hamlin was a person, after all.

Vaughn’s extreme reticence to refer to Damar Hamlin by name put me in mind of how African American slaves were denied their names and were referred to by whatever the master chose to call them.

Vaughn bristles at being thought a racist but about as many people think cops are racist as think football players are heroes.




Firefighter, DC City Guide and Part-Time Sailor

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