Although NFL has vehemently denied originally planning to start Monday’s football game after Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed on the field, ESPN has said that it is sticking by its reporting that NFL had planned to resume the game initially. 

Hamlin collapsed on the field on Monday night during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals after suffering a cardiac arrest following the hit from an open-field tackle on Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. He was transferred to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for further testing and treatment, where he remains sedated.

Also Read | ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky prays for Damar Hamlin on live show, fans call it ‘most powerful TV moment’

The NFL postponed Monday’s game between the Bills and the Bengals following the on-field injury. The game’s postponement took more than an hour and because of that NFL was heavily criticized at the time. The league was ultimately praised for its consequential decision to call off the competition. 

It still remains a cause of debate that at any point after Hamlin’s devastating injury did NFL planned to resume the game. 

Also Read | Tucker Carlson blames Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest on Covid vaccine, gets trolled on social media

On Monday, ESPN reported that after Hamlin was taken off the field in an ambulance, both teams were given a five-minute warm-up notice. This meant that the first quarter would resume. However, the game never started back up and the league later said it never considered restarting the game.

“We never, frankly, it never crossed our mind to talk about warming up to resume play,” said Troy Vincent, NFL executive vice president of football operations, at a press conference Monday night. “That’s ridiculous. It’s insensitive. And that’s not a place that that we should ever be in.” He added that he did not know where the report came from. 

Also Read | Watch: Niagara Falls lit up blue in tribute to Buffalo Bills’ Damar Hamlin after cardiac arrest

However, on Wednesday, ESPN, said in a statement that it is sticking by its reporting.

“There was constant communication in real time between ESPN and league and game officials,” the network said in a statement. “As a result of that, we reported what we were told in the moment and immediately updated fans as new information was learned. This was an unprecedented, rapidly evolving circumstance. All night long, we refrained from speculation.”