Videos shared online showed a Pittsburgh Steelers player mimicking CPR on linebacker Alex Highsmith as a celebration for a sack during Sunday's (January 8) win against the Cleveland Browns, just six days after Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest on the field during the Bills' now-cancelled Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Twitter user Ben Tylka shared a clip of the incident Sunday afternoon, which he called "classless."
Numerous others also bashed the players for the celebration in quote-tweets and responses.
“Glad they got eliminated,” a fan wrote in response to the clip, acknowledging that the Steelers fell one spot short of the final AFC playoff seed.
“Total trash,” another wrote.
The Steelers shared a photo of both teams gathered in prayer, which they said was in honor of Hamlin, a Pittsburgh native and who played collegiately at the University of Pittsburgh.
Highsmith quote-tweeted the photo with "'Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!' Psalm 133:1."
Hamlin collapsed on the field after suffering cardiac arrest during the now-canceled Monday Night Football matchup between the Bills and Cincinnati Bengals.
Hamlin, 24, tackled Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins during the first quarter of Monday's game and got back to his feet before suddenly falling to the ground. A stretcher and ambulance came onto the field and CPR was administered by first responders.
The second-year safety had his breathing tube removed overnight and made contact with players and coaches on Friday (January 6), the Bills announced in a series of updates shared on Twitter.
Hamlin also shared several social media posts over the weekend, which included his first addressing the situation, as well as a photo of himself from his hospital bed showing support for the Bills ahead of their game against the New England Patriots on Sunday.
Last week, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said "it's a really personal thing for me" when asked about Hamlin's status.
Tomlin, who has coached the Steelers since 2007, said he knew the Pittsburgh native since he was roughly 12 years old.
"Just got a lot of love and respect for him as a human being," Tomlin said. "His commitment to the pursuit of his goals and dreams of doing what it is he's doing right now, which is playing in the NFL. To watch him make personal decisions and make that a realization, it's just an honor to get to know young people like that.
"Had an opportunity to express that to him whenever I see him. We've played Buffalo each of the last two seasons, and he and I get to have a moment. It's just cool to not only appreciate these guys in terms of where they are now, but to know them since they were younger people and to watch their maturation, their development, to watch them earn what they were chasing, it's just really a cool thing. He's an example of that.
"I've got a lot of love for that young man. We lift him and that organization up in prayer."