Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Eli Apple, in the middle of a Twitter spat with Bills receiver Stefon Diggs, walked back on a post he made for its apparent reference to Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin, who suffered cardiac arrest during a game earlier in January.
“All love thoughts prayers and concerns to @HamlinIsland as he continues to recover from that tragic incident,” Apple posted Tuesday to his verified Twitter account. “Never would I make light of that scary unfortunate scene. This game is truly a dangerous risk to our bodies mind and spirit. Nothing but love to all my football brothers.”
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It all started late during Sunday’s 27-10 divisional round loss to the Bengals, when Diggs was caught on the sideline by broadcast cameras gesturing toward the bench where quarterback Josh Allen was sitting. On Monday, Apple trolled Diggs by posting a video clip of the incident with the comment: “Someone get them in couples therapy @JoshAllenQB and @stefondiggs I’ll pay on God.”
Diggs, without tagging Apple or naming him, then posted to his verified account: “It’s easy to criticize my reaction more than the result.”
In response to that tweet, Apple then posted: “Cancun on 3,” with an emoji at the end of two hands making the shape of a heart. The reference to Cancun comes from NBA player Patrick Beverly’s comments from the 2020 season when he used them to troll Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard. The comment was made as Portland’s postseason run that season was coming to an end and the reference to Cancun was a joke that the eliminated Blazers would be on vacation.
The emoji was taken by many to be mocking of Hamlin, who uses the hand gesture with teammates and fans, including Sunday, when the jumbotron at Highmark Stadium showed Hamlin in a suite, watching the game.
Hamlin collapsed in the first quarter of a Jan. 2 game against the Bengals, which was temporarily suspended then subsequently postponed. His heartbeat was restored on the field before he was transferred to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and was placed in critical condition.
While he lay on the field, Hamlin was treated with CPR and an AED and placed on a stretcher before being transported to the hospital.
After he continued to make significant progress, Hamlin was released from the hospital nine days after the incident.
Apple has become known for his troll jobs, after he mocked then-Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill and current Chiefs player Mecole Hardman last season, saying he would hook them both up with Super Bowl tickets after the Bengals defeated Kansas City in last year’s AFC championship game.
Contributing: Chris Bumbaca and Cydney Henderson
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Eli Apple walks back troll job for apparent Damar Hamlin reference