ESPN was widely praised for its handling of the Damar Hamlin situation during “Monday Night Football.” Soon after the Bills safety collapsed on the field, the broadcast turned from football game to serious news story.
As the broadcast team, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman were at the frontlines of the situation. Reflecting on what happened, Buck said it was all something of a “blur.”“Honestly, as you and I talk right now, I have no idea what I said,” Buck told the New York Post. “It’s kind of a blur.”
Buck told the Post:
My natural instinct at that moment is not to talk. That’s the last thing I want to do is to put my words to this serious situation. It’s very counterintuitive as the football play-by-play guy about somebody having CPR administered to him in the center of a stadium with 65,000 people in it and a national television audience. It’s just a weird place to be. …
I think being quiet is OK. Having it being reverent and quiet is OK because the stadium was stone cold quiet and the players were in utter shock.
Once the game was temporarily suspended, the network threw to their studio, where Suzy Kolber, Booger McFarland and Adam Schefter added commentary to the event. Reporter Coley Harvey, studio anchor Scott Van Pelt, analyst Ryan Clark and other ESPN personnel joined throughout the night to reflect on the situation.
Hamlin remains in critical condition as of Wednesday morning, but family members provided positive updates on Tuesday night.