Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

17 Oct 2005

Hamlin Hospitalized After Nightclub Fight

This one sounds heinous. Hopefully he'll be OK, but it sounds like Hamlin could miss the rest of the season. (That's purely speculation on my part.) Usually when you read one of these stories, you assume that the player has misbehaved, to say the least. It doesn't sound like Hamlin did anything wrong, aside maybe from being short-tempered. That makes me feel a lot worse for him.

Posted by: Tim Gerheim on 17 Oct 2005

22 comments, Last at 18 Oct 2005, 5:29pm by Jamie T.


by tunesmith (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2005 - 10:14pm

Oof. I definitely wouldn't say that he deserved what happened to him because he punched someone in the face, but punching someone in the face doesn't exactly help in terms of keeping a situation from escalating. He's got to remember that he has a more valuable body than the other guy did. You swallow your pride and get out of there.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2005 - 11:18pm

It's always easy to tell people to swallow their pride when it isn't your pride to swallow. Football players don't suddenly become worldly gurus of self-control just because they're playing football.

by JasonK (not verified) :: Mon, 10/17/2005 - 11:43pm

Am I alone in that the only Hamlin I've heard of was benched in favor of Andrew Johnson 141 years ago?

by Billiams (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 12:33am

He hit first, he deserves it. Cut and dry.

by noahpoah (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 1:50am

He hit first, he deserves it. Cut and dry.

He punched someone in the face after some pushing and shoving and he deserves to have his skull cracked and his brain bruised? Let me guess... You majored in moral philosophy.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 2:07am

Hard to say that anybody "deserves" to have his skull fractured with a signpost, but when somebody (particualrly if the somebody is an NFL-caliber athlete) throws a punch, they are clearly signaling their intent to inflict greivous bodily damage upon somebody else. When one signals such an intent, one just might get one's skull caved in. Best not to signal such intent, unless one is forced to out of self-defense. Who knows? maybe that is the case here.

by billiams (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 2:53am

"He punched someone in the face after some pushing and shoving and he deserves to have his skull cracked and his brain bruised? Let me guess… You majored in moral philosophy."
He's an adult, he was reportedly sober, he should understand the potential consequences of punching someone in the face.

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 9:14am

Am I alone in that the only Hamlin I’ve heard of was benched in favor of Andrew Johnson 141 years ago?

you're a better man than I--the only Hamlin I ever heard of had this Pied Piper in it

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 9:44am

OK, so a guy says to a dude, "Excuse me," and the dude starts pushing and shoving him. Who knows what other words were exchanged, but it escalated to Hamlin punching the guy. The guy's friend, an obvious coward and piece of shit, decides to hit him in (apparently) the back of the head with a bludgeon.

And some a-holes here say that Hamlin deserved this?

Give me a freaking break.

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 9:49am

Bad things sometime happen at night clubs. Not sure why (given that) profesional athletes don't make more of an effort to stay away from them.

Once the punching starts, everything is pretty much fair game. It would be foolish to expect that because you're just using your fists, the other guy will too.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 10:42am

Mawbrew, a lot of the smart ones don't hang out in public, at least in public places where people are doing a lot of drinking.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 11:52am

I'm with you, Will. It seems that people like to lump all athletes in particular sports into one category, when the majority of them are actually good citizens.

Even among the Vikings.

by Jeff (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 11:55am

"He had plenty of chances to walk away from this incident," Culp said, adding Hamlin "went out of his way" to provoke a fight.

Hamlin's listed as 6'2", 209 and most of that I'm willing to bet is muscle. I'm 5'7", 160 and a computer programmer. I don't know how big the other guys in the fight were, but if a 6'2" 209 pound, muscle-bound guy is going after me, I'm going to look to protect myself. And I don't think my fists are up to that challenge.

I'm not going to say that anyone deserves to have their skull crushed. It sucks for Hamlin that it happened. But there is no way I can defend his actions and call him an innocent victim in this.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 12:20pm

No one is saying that he's innocent in this, but from the article it seems he was on the ground when someone hit him with the metal sign.

Should dude have lost it? No. He should have just laughed it off, but there are egos and testosterone involved here, including guys showing off in front of women. OK, I never understood the last part, because every woman I've dated wasn't into the kind of guys who got in fights at clubs and/or bars.

by MCS (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 12:49pm

I’m not very eloquent so please bear with me as I try to make some comments:

1. No one deserves to be hit with a sign. Hamlin could have been killed.

2. I know I'm generalizing but it just appears that football players aren’t ever worldly gurus of self control. They seem to be worse then general society when it comes to humility and self control. Why? Maybe the players get recognized and certain people want to make a name for themselves by fighting them and the player has little choice. Maybe the violent nature of what the players do makes them more violent people. It may have something to do with being allowed a certain amount of leeway their entire life because they are athletes. I don’t know.

Note that this is appearences, not facts. As an average American, I do not have the time to research all cases of NFL player violnce and compare the data to society. I must base my opinions on what I perceive based on the information I get from the media and people of intelligence. That's why I read FO. These discussions are always interesting and sometimes informative (especially when links and reference materials are provided).

3. In my youth, I was in my share of bar fights and I only saw once when a weapon was used. It was a chair and the guy holding it looked terrified. What causes a man to use a sign in a fight? It is anger? Or is it fear?

Side comment: Look at American society in general. Look at the instances of assault and spousal abuse. Look at the cases of road rage. Look at certain parents at children’s sporting events. It seems to me that there is a lot of anger out there and I don’t see it improving.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 1:14pm

Well, I pay a lot of attention to the sports teams in the Twin Cities, and I can't think of a single incidence of a Minnesota Twin being in a brawl over the past ten years, but I can name about a half-dozen involving Vikings. Maybe it is just a fluke.

Having said that, most NFL players conduct themselves in a way that is congruent with the norms of civilized society. However, people who allow their egos or testosterone to lead them into violent confrontations run the risk of getting their skulls fractured. Therefore, they would be wise to not let their egos or testosterone lead them into such confrontations.

Life is difficult enough without making it harder. Once, when I was overseas, I had the misfortune of having a pack of soldiers set upon me with rifle butts and kicks from combat boots, for no other reason than they thought it would be fun to beat the hell out of a foreigner, and I was available. I had done nothing to provoke them, but I realized in retrospect that I had made myself too visible in a circumstance where a violent mood was permeating the atmosphere.

From then on, my antennae was much better attuned to sensing when trouble was lurking, and thus seeking a quiet exit from such circumstances when I encountered them. I suspect this will be a habit for the rest of my life, and I have no intention of ever breaking it. There's a saying, "Never bring a knife to a gunfight", and it is good advice, as far as it goes. The problem is one can never tell beforehand what kind of fight it will turn out to be.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 2:07pm

Interesting article that sees fit to simply ask questions, rather than pose as moral authority. I think it provides a good basis for where discussions on this sort of event should focus.


by masocc (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 2:14pm

"The only difficulty I have with this is, it's such a waste," Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said. "It seems rather pointless. It's not like you are playing a football game and all of a sudden you get hit and you get injured.

"It's one of those things that shouldn't have happened."

The unspoken quote: "Oh, and I suppose started some guy named Marquand Manuel, instead of my future Pro-Bowler, qualifies as a difficulty too."

by masocc (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 2:18pm

started=starting, obviously.

And my best wishes for a speedy and full recover for Hamlin.

However... what's the over-under that somebody in Hamlin's 'posse' found and subsequently killed this guy? My bets:
55% Hamlin's Posse
35% Irate Fan
4% Corrupt police officer who's already laid a heavy wager on next weeks game
1% Random act of violence

by Israel (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 2:23pm

Am I alone in that the only Hamlin I’ve heard of was benched in favor of Andrew Johnson 141 years ago?

If this were a guy named Hannibal instead of Ken, maybe it would have intimidated the other guy.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 4:03pm


What about the other guy involved? May've thought they killed him and one of them got the notion to cut the other out of the picture. That's gotta have decent chances...

by Jamie T. (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 5:29pm

I'm guessing that most of you havn't ever been in a real fight. This assumption is based purely off of comments I have read so far.

My life experiences are based on significant time spent traveling the world as a U.S. Sailor. Prior to my time spent in the service, I felt that fighting could be done in a gentlemanly manner. This comes from growing up in the country where most highschool fights I've seen and participated in were of the "gentlemanly" type. Anyone who used underhanded techniques was imediately ostracized. I figure this was the way the world worked. I couldn't have been more wrong.

It has now come to my understanding that the world simply doesn't work this way. People don't fight to knock somebody down. They don't fight to show somebody who's boss. They usualy fight to maim and you can never tell those who don't fight that way from those who do. Since this is all absolute fact, you must addopt the stratagy of always fighting to maim your opponent. The consiquences of not doing so are much worse than jail time, I can assure you. It's interesting that most Martial Arts training also revolves around this concept. Better to maim your opponent then to be maimed.

I have no idea what happened in Hamlin's case. I do not know whether he realized that a fight was unavoidable and decided to punch first, or if he initiated the fight. I can only tell you one thing, he made a very bad mistake in the fact that he didn't put his opponent down IMMEDIATELY. His opponent did not make that mistake. It's now cost Hamlin a trip to the hospital and a near death experience that he can relate to his grandkids if he so choses.

My point is that we can debate all we want about whether Hamlin deserved to be hit with a sign post or not. We can debate all we want about whether he could have walked away from it, or shold have walked away from it. None of that changes the fact that there are alot of nasty people out there. These people would suffer no ill effects on their concious if they killed another in a nightclub fight. They simply wouldn't think twice about it. If people chose to go to places where the odds of getting into physical confontations are much higher than the average then those people need to understand that self defense of the most vicious kind is the only way in which to fully protect yourself when you are cornered. Remeber kids, walking away is not always an option, especialy when dealing with someone who is going to the nightclub with the sole pourpose of inflicting pain on some unlucky soul. And there are alot of guys out there doing that.

These are the facts of life and no debate, nor law, nor lack of law is ever going to change it. If you don't want to be confronted with a situation like Hamlin and the other two guys were in, then don't go to bars, nightclubs, ect, ect. This is the path that I've taken after being in the hospital on one occasion and putting someone else in the hospital on another occasion and doing some jail time.

I'm sorry, but the whole "didn't deserve to be hit by a signpost" discussion is rediculous. It's a vicious world out there as Hamlin can attest to. The people who who hit others with sign posts don't care whether that person deserves it or not. I can tell you this, if I was confronted with a 209lb NFL safety who was looking for a fight and I had no where to retreat, I would pick a signpost up and hit him across the head with enough force to crack his skull before he EVEN HAD THE CHANCE to hit me. Those who wouldn't better be prepared to spend a night or two in the hospital...or worse.