It took the real doctors and medical professionals several hours to sort out the details of what happened to Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin after he suddenly collapsed after making a tackle on the field Monday night. But true to form, it took only minutes for anti vaxxers to start up the conspiracy machine.
Anti vaxxers couldn’t even wait until the ambulance took Hamlin to the hospital to blame his collapse on what else — the COVID vaccine.
“I know what everyone with any common sense is thinking,” former Newsmax host Grant Stinchfield tweeted. “This isn’t the first time a pro athlete had this happen,” he added, alongside two needle emojis.
On more fringe platforms like Telegram, users in conspiracy channels quickly jumped to comment on the baseless connection between Hamlin’s collapse and the vaccine. They linked to fake Twitter accounts claiming to belong to the doctor who gave Hamlin his booster in December, as well as comments from cardiologist Peter McCullough who has touted ivermectin as a cure for COVID–19. After the Bills announced that Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest on the field, McCullough claimed in an interview with Silicon Valley entrepreneur and COVID misinformation superspreader Steve Kirsch that the vaccine could have caused his collapse.
One commentator on a QAnon Telegram channel insisted that the doctors speaking about Hamlin’s injury on TV were covering something up by failing to ask if he was vaxxed—and claimed this was part of a wider conspiracy against men.
“The TV doctors have not asked if Hamlin was c19 vaxxed,” the user wrote. “Instead, they are talking about the safety/health issues about football as a contact sport. The [New World Order] agenda is about feminization of men.”
Ever since the COVID vaccine rolled out, anti vaxxers have been jumping on any sudden death or injury suffered by any high-profile individual as proof positive that the vaccine is “poison.” Proof of that poisoning is never offered, just logical fallacies and statements that their conspiracy “must be true” because they say it is.
Ironically, one show typically associated with conspiracy theories and a large swarth of anti vaxxers in their audience, The Alex Jones Show actually denounced the theories. It wasn’t Jones himself who denounced the conspiracies, but guest host, Owen Shroyer who happened to be filling in.
“Every hit in the NFL is violent,” Shroyer said. “And I’m willing to say — and I don’t think this is a reach and a lot of people won’t like this, but I’m sorry it’s the truth. Folks, the gentleman collapsed and had a cardiac event because of the hit.”
“The vaccine did not cause him to collapse on the field.”
Yes, the hit caused the cardiac arrest. The truth is as simple as that.
As the old saying goes, a lie can go around the world before the truth puts on its shoes. In this tragic situation, the only thing that the anti vaxxers proved was that the old saying is as true as it ever was.