The Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins has been targeted by trolls and negativity ever since Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin was hospitalized following an on-field collision with him during Monday night’s football.

Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest following the hit from an open-field tackle on Higgins. He was transferred to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for further testing and treatment, where he remains sedated. Since then, Hamlin’s condition has improved but remains critical. And Higgins has been brutally blamed by a number of people including ESPN analyst Bart Scott for being the reason Hamlin collapsed. 

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Meanwhile, Higgins has been defended by fans on social media. “There is one young man that I think a lot of us are forgetting to lift up in prayer in the past 72 hours, and that is Tee Higgins of the Cincinnati Bengals. Higgins is beside himself with guilt, and has not left the hospital since Damar Hamlin arrived Monday night,” one of them said.

Another wrote, “There is one young man that I think needs our prayers along with Damar Hamlin. From my hometown, Tee Higgins of the Cincinnati Bengals. Reports have it Higgins is beside himself. He needs healing and comfort. #DamarHamlim #TeeHiggins” A third commented, “While you pray for Damar say one for Tee Higgins too. Just being involved in the play can wreck your mentals and emotions. Pray for them all.”

Also Read | Damar Hamlin fans join hands in Bengals stadium to pray for Buffalo Bills star after cardiac arrest: Watch

Hamlin’s family has also stood up for Higgins after he received public backlash. Hamlin’s friend and marketing representative Jordon Rooney told CNN that Higgins has reached out to the family and that both of Hamlin’s parents are “frustrated with backlash towards Tee Higgins.”

“Tee has reached out, Tee has been supportive,” Rooney said. “It was a freak accident. It was nothing that Tee could control.”

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He further added that the family wants any criticism of Higgins stop: “…they were mad. They were frustrated. If you think you’re supporting Damar by bashing Tee, you’re not supporting Damar. …They don’t agree with anything that’s being said. It was a freak football accident that could have happened with anyone at any time. Tee has reached out. He has went above and beyond. All signs point to him being a great human being who genuinely cares and feels bad. The family feels bad that Tee would have any guilt towards this situation.”