Bills Damar Hamlin Offers Thanks In Video, Conspiracy Theorists Claim It’s CGI

You know that 1991 song by Hammer called “Too Legit to Quit?” Well, are all these conspiracy theories about Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin a case of “Too Illegit to Quit?” Ever since Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest during a January 3 Monday Night Football game, anti-vaccination activists have been trying to push the narrative that Covid-19 vaccines were somehow involved without really providing that little thing called evidence. When Hamlin appeared at the Bills divisional playoff game last Sunday, they claimed that it wasn’t really Hamlin but was instead a body double, covering up their so-called reality that he was dead. As I reported for Forbes, they questioned why he didn’t show more of his face or speak. Well, speaking of which, in the video posted on Hamlin’s account today, a man who clearly looked and sounded like Hamlin spent close to six minutes thanking everyone who had saved his life, taken care of him, and sent him well wishes. So what are those conspiracy theorists and anti-vaccination activists saying now? Did all of them double back on their body double claims? Nope, some are actually doubling down with three letters: CGI. No, not “come get idiotic” but “computer-generated imagery.”

Yes, they are now claiming that CGI is responsible for the video that Hamlin posted on his Instagram account and the Buffalo Bills shared on Twitter:

You know the phrase, “I just can’t?”

This video didn’t look like anything from the movies The Green Lantern or Sharknado. Instead it looked like a real life Hamlin stating things like, “What happened to me on ‘Monday Night Football,’ I feel is a direct example of God using me as a vessel to share my passion and my love directly from my heart with the entire world.” He went on with, “And now I’m able to give to kids and communities all across the world who need it the most. And that’s always been my dream.” Hamlin also credited the Cincinnati Bengals and their fans for their support: “You put humanity above team loyalty. You showed the world unity over division.” Hamlin added. “I’m not surprised by it, but I’m deeply grateful and I will be forever thankful and indebted to that.” Hamlin concluded the video by expressing thanks those who donated to his charity, pushing the total to over $9 million and making a heart sign with his hands while relaying, “I couldn’t do this without any of this support and the love, and I can’t wait to continue to take y’all on this journey with me.”

Again, the person in video looked and sounded very much like Hamlin. But that didn’t make various anti-vaccination and conspiracy theory-spreading social media accounts quit. Nope. They continued the “Hamlin died suddenly from the Covid-19 vaccine so that what you are seeing is the NFL trying to cover everything up” narrative. For example, one anonymous account on Twitter stated, “We need to talk about Damar Hamlin. Dude either got cloned or is dead. I studied the video he released earlier today and it is almost all CGI. Call me crazy if you want but I don’t care. The facial features don’t correlate to the real Hamlin. Still in disbelief about this.” As another example, an attorney in Texas asserted on Twitter, “Deep fake for sure. They had to slap something together. Why not an interview? And how can there be no mention of the cardiac arrest?” Umm, would that argument hold up in court?

Such comments prompted even more exasperation from people who use, you know, critical thinking skills. For example, here’s what one Twitterer said:

And former NBA guard Rex Chapman essentially said stop, just stop:

At this point, it’s not clear whether and when these anti-vaxxers will quit pushing this narrative about Hamlin. They’ve provided no concrete evidence that Covid-19 vaccines were responsible in any way for Hamlin’s collapse and cardiac arrest. They’ve provided no real evidence that Hamlin fits in with their “Covid-19 vaccines are causing people to die suddenly” narrative that was pushed by the Died Suddenly film, which I covered for Forbes in November 2022. And they’ve provided no actual evidence that a body double or CGI have been employed.

They could simply be happy to see that Hamlin has been on the road to recovery after a harrowing life-threatening experience. But that would require showing a little, you know, humanity.