Alex Highsmith apologizes for fake chest compressions celebration


Steelers pass rusher Alex Highsmith apologized for his part in an ill-timed sack celebration.

With Highsmith lying on his back after a sack late in Sunday’s game, Steelers defensive end Demarvin Leal did fake chest compressions on Highsmith. Steelers defenders had used the celebration earlier this season, but this one came six days after Bills safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during Monday Night Football.

Highsmith said he didn’t make the connection until after the game when he saw that video of his celebration had gone viral.

“I just don’t want people to think of me that way and think I was doing anything [intentional],” Highsmith said, via Brian Batko of the Post-Gazette. “Because I would never, ever, ever, ever want to do that intentionally, and I never, ever would do that.”

Highsmith was contrite Monday, and he surely meant every word of his apology.

The Steelers nominated Highsmith for the 2022 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, given annually to an NFL player “who best demonstrates the qualities of on-field sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition.”

So, the tone-deaf celebration was out of character, a spontaneous mistake.

“I just want people to know that I have nothing but love for Damar and his family,” Highsmith said. “When that happened, I was shook for a couple days. Me and my wife, we were watching the game, we immediately saw it and intentionally started praying, intentionally prayed for him, his parents, the doctors, the nurses. Because me and her, we’re both followers of Christ. We both believe that prayer is powerful, and I’m just thankful for the miraculous work God has done with Damar’s life. I just want people to know that there was nothing intentional about that. It was never planned. None of that.”

32 responses to “Alex Highsmith apologizes for fake chest compressions celebration

  1. But you did. And poor taste doesn’t BEGIN to describe it. Wouldn’t someone step in and recognize the lack of self-awareness?

  2. At least he didn’t shove a trainer trying to get in to help a guy down on the field like Walker. That was bone headed.

  3. Damar Hamlin is up and walking around. That’s great. Putting aside what has happened in the last week for a moment, what kind of “celebration” is that anyway? Stupid in itself. Adding back what happened to Damar Hamlin, it was classless and Highsmith is without class himself. He can say he is sorry now, but the you can’t un-ring a bell. People saw it.

  4. imitating CPR at any point as a celebration shows he is disrespectful (its not like they invented CPR for Damar Hamlin), but doing a week after it was done in real life to save a life shows he’s an idiot.

  5. “Didn’t make the connection.” = didn’t stop to think about it at all.

    You can’t coach awareness.

    At least he took ownership for his mistake.

  6. The Behavior Police need to give him a break. It was heartfelt and honest apology (rare these days). He’s a class act, and I’m pretty confident he’s done a heck of a lot more for the benefit of others than the people ripping him ever have.

  7. What about the “put to sleep” celebrations? Doesn’t the NFL want to get away from vicious hits and concussions?

  8. Definitely a thoughtless act on the part of both players and an apology definitely warranted. That being said, there’s nothing in his history that would suggest he’s the kind of guy who would make fun of a life-threatening injury deliberately. I (recognizing my own bias because he’s a Steeler) take him at his word that it was momentary stupidity and not intentional malice.

  9. TimTebowGodOfFootballKarma says:
    January 9, 2023 at 8:23 pm
    Horrible behavior. He should quit in disgrace.
    I always wondered why Ray Lewis didn’t consider that, considering……well, you know.

  10. I believe him. It was the wrong timing for sure but some people are just too sensitive and make to much of something they was unintentional.

  11. Was he trying to resuscitate their playoff chances? Talk about an inability to read the room. Glad he apologized though.

  12. The young man made a bonehead mistake in an emotional moment, apologized sincerely it appeared, so learn from it and let’s move on.

  13. First off what he did was tasteless however he did apologize sincerely . Also Ravens and Pats trolls talking classless actions seem to have forgotten Aaron Hernandez, Ray Lewis and Ray Rice. Nobody has the high morale ground when this crap happens but some trolls have embarrassing selective memory. I am sorry I don’t have enough crayons to explain why their comments are very out of touch.

  14. It strains credulity how teams like the Ravens, Bengals, Browns, Patriots, etc are out there praying and honoring Damar when Highsmith and the Steelers think it’s all just a big joke. And no, no one is falling for this fake apology that Tripper Tomlin made you give.

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