Football star Damar Hamlin was forced to shut down right-wing speculation that he wore a "Satanic" jacket to the Super Bowl after he was spotted wearing a jacket depicting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
The Buffalo Bills player was a surprise guest at Super Bowl LVII scarcely a month after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest during the first quarter of a match against the Cincinnati Bengals. He thanked the medical staff of both sports teams at a ceremony before the big game.
But things took an odd turn after conservatives—spurred by remarks from right-wing figures like the conspiracy theorist Stew Peters—described the jacket Hamlin was wearing as "Satanic."
Peters accused Hamlin—or "the guy pretending to be" him—of engaging in "an act of overt mockery" by wearing the jacket.
Other conservatives quickly joined in to accuse Hamlin of blasphemy and somehow declaring his allegiance to Satan.
The jacket Hamlin wore, by designer Takashi Murakami, is a "Travis Jesus" stadium-style jacket worth around $3,600 that was made in collaboration with design company SAINT M ××××××, also known as SAINT MICHAEL.
The jacket depicts a crucified Jesus as a doll surrounded by items of clothing with the word "ETERNAL" stitched above, which prompted at least one conservative to claim it was linked to the deaths of eight people at rapper Travis Scott's concert during the first night of the 2021 Astroworld Festival.
QAnon conspiracy theorists have long alleged the deaths were part of a Satanic ritual even though there is no evidence whatsoever that Satanists were involved in a crowd crush that Texas officials have referred to as a "mass casualty event."
Although Hamlin chose not to respond directly to the conservative pushback against his jacket, he did like the following post from Twitter user @younoob0708, who shared examples of two jackets by the same designer and wrote the following message:
"No Damar Hamlin did not wear a Satanic jacket to the Super Bowl. On the left is what he wore and the right is from the same designer. As you can see the left one is the very opposite of satanic and the company's name is St. Micheal so no he did not wear a satanic jacket."
Conservatives are no stranger to shouting "Satanism" at things they don't like, even at times turning against members of their flock.
In October, billionaire Elon Musk's Christian MAGA fans reacted negatively after he attended Heidi Klum's annual Halloween bash while wearing a red and black samurai-style outfit complete with Baphomet heads and inverted crosses that is listed online as “Devil’s Champion-Leather Armor.”
Last week, conservative Twitter was up in arms over singer Sam Smith's performance of their song "Unholy" at the Grammy Awards over the weekend, with many decrying it as an example of "evil" and the purported "Satanism" they say is thriving in Hollywood and among the "global elite."
Many came to Hamlin's defense and criticized the latest manufactured conservative controversy.
Hamlin is no stranger to conspiracy theories.
Last month, prominent conservative activist Charlie Kirk and other members of the far-right were criticized after suggesting the COVID-19 vaccine is to blame for Hamlin's sudden cardiac arrest.
Kirk—the founder of Turning Point USA which advocates for conservative politics on high school, college and university campuses—said on Twitter Hamlin's collapse is just the latest example of "a tragic and all too familiar sight right now" that can be attributed to COVID-19 vaccines.
These claims were swiftly debunked but this has not stopped conservatives from pushing these claims even after Hamlin showed signs of recovery and was discharged from the hospital so he could rehabilitate at home.