“Social media and Damar Hamlin’s Collapse combine creating a vaccine misinformation field day“, Fortune, Ali Swenson, David Klepper, Sophia Tulp and The Associated Press
“Unfounded claims about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines proliferated in the hours and days after Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed during Monday’s game, revealing how pervasive vaccine misinformation remains three years after the pandemic began.
Even before Hamlin was carried off the field in Cincinnati, posts were amassing thousands of shares and millions of views. Their circulation online claiming without evidence complications from COVID-19 vaccines caused his health emergency.”
I have not read what the diagnosis has been other than being a rare affliction. Damar appears to be doing better after emergency care was applied. The Fortune article is from January 5, 2023.
“Interviewed by The Associated Press, Physicians say there is no indication Hamlin’s vaccine status played a role. They also asserted there is no evidence to support claims that a number of young athletes have died as a result of COVID vaccinations.
Dallas cardiologist and outspoken vaccine critic, Peter McCullough amplified such theories on a Fox News segment hosted by Tucker Carlson on Tuesday. His speculation was Hamlin’s episode may have resulted from a ‘vaccine-induced myocarditis.’ The Bills then did not reveal whether Hamlin was vaccinated or not. About 95% of NFL players have received a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the league.”
At this point I am stopping on the Fortune article and moving on to a commentary by a sports figure who claims no healthcare expertise. Instead, he challenges Charlie’s and Tucker’s baloney-making soliloquies in that they should remain silent on the topic for which they have false and purposeful misleading knowledge.
Kareem Abdul Jabbar calling out Charlie Kirk and Tucker Carlson. The two-time Finals MVP wrote, “For the Two Horsemen of the Apocalypse, (Charlie) Kirk and (Tucker) Carlson, exploiting human misery for personal gain is just good business.”
A sad and dangerous trend has set in the last few years in which conservative commentators wishing to grab headlines that translate into followers and viewers (which translates into money) will make outrageous and unsubstantiated claims fueling medical mistrust. Even though such mistrust can result in people not getting vaccines and therefore becoming seriously ill or dying or infecting others who get sick or die. They don’t care. To them, the people who actually listen to them are just faceless marks to be exploited—in fact, they think these people deserve to be exploited for believing their nonsense.
What is disturbing is the use of what they would bill as a “scientific expert” to make their case, but then the dismissal of the overwhelming number of legitimate scientists and medical experts who reject their lone and discredited source.
Kareem then discusses Tucker’s use of Cardiologist Peter McCullough who speculates “without examining Hamlin, that Damar Hamlin might have ‘vaccine-induced myocarditis.’” Just toss your garbage up in the air and don’t worry about where it lands or the impact. Tucker’s followers will believe them in spite of the smell. Back to Kareem.
Dr. Matthew Martinez, director of sports cardiology at Atlantic Health System in Morristown Medical Center, dismissed this:
“It’s not real research, but he (McCullough) quotes it as if it’s real research. Anybody can write a letter to the editor and then quote an article that has no academic rigor.”
Videos on social media claim to show athletes collapsing—but several prove to be from other causes. In fact, cardiologists have indicated that there has been no upturn in athletes collapsing on the field since the implementation of COVID-19 vaccines. The reason some people think there are more now is because they are looking for them in order to confirm their bias.
Charlie Kirk, whose absurd logic I’ve pointed out before, is an influential conservative in charge of “Turning Point USA.” Kirk tweeted to his 1.9 followers that athletes dropping suddenly had become an “all too familiar sight.” Seventeen hours later he reported:
“For committing the crime of noticing that athletes are tragically collapsing on the playing field, I have been labeled ‘human garbage’… Paying attention yet?”
Again, the logic here is so middle school that I’m surprised he’s not too embarrassed to make it public. First, how many athletes were collapsing before COVID-19 vaccines? Second, what are all the potential causes for them collapsing. You know, SCIENCE. Also, he isn’t really asking a question—that’s a grifter trick to pretend you’re being objective—because his intent is to imply a conclusion that leaps over all logic and science: vaccine bad. The “human garbage” label is not for his bold journalistic investigation, but for his smarmy, unsupported implication to pander to his followers’ prejudices. At a time when the country is facing an epidemic of flu, COVID-19, and respiratory illness filling our hospitals, especially children’s hospitals, what should you call someone who encourages vaccine hesitancy with no legitimate medical support? How many hospitalizations and deaths might he be responsible for?
For the Two Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Kirk and Carlson, exploiting human misery for personal gain is just good business.
“Tucker C. Exploits Damar Hamlin,” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, (substack.com)