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NFL shares Lions fan sign that some claim mocks Hockenson, Higbee injuries

Tight ends for the Vikings and Rams suffered serious knee injuries against Detroit.
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Detroit Lions fans celebrating a trip to the NFC title game were shown on the FOX broadcast Sunday holding a sign that some have suggested mocks the serious injuries suffered by opponents in recent games against the Lions. 

On Dec. 24, Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson suffered ACL and MCL tears in his right knee after he absorbed a low hit by Detroit safety Kerby Joseph. Last week, during the Lions' wild-card win, Rams tight end Tyler Higbee suffered the exact same injuries when he was hit in the knee by Joseph. 

The fan's sign shown during the Lions-Buccaneers telecast, and subsequently posted on social media by the official NFL account, referenced "kneecap" and "other kneecap," "hunk out of 'em" twice and finished with "last one standing." The kneecap checkmarks were next to the logos of the Vikings and Rams. 

There's no question that the use of "kneecap" is a reference to Detroit head coach Dan Campbell's introductory press conference in 2021, when he used "biting kneecaps" and taking hunks out of opponents as metaphors to the tough identity he promised to bring to the Motor City. But why include the Vikings?

Minnesota was Detroit's final regular season opponent, but the game carried little weight for the Lions. It's possible that the whoever made the sign included the Vikings because Detroit clinched the NFC North in Minnesota on Dec. 24, representing the team's advancement into the postseason where they first took care of the Rams on Wild Card Weekend.

And "kneecap" is used only for the Vikings and Rams, teams whose tight ends literally had their knees blown out by a Lions player, before "hunk out of 'em" is used for the Buccaneers and the NFC Championship.

As such, it has led to criticism that it's in poor taste, with Vikings fans criticizing the NFL for sharing it on its social media pages.

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"We're gonna kick you in the teeth and when you punch us back we're going to smile at you, and when you knock us down we're going to get up," Campbell said Jan. 21, 2021. "And on the way up we're going to bite a kneecap off. And we're going to stand up and then it's going to take two more shots to knock us down. And on the way up we're going to take your other kneecap and we're going to get up and it's going to take three shots to get us down. And when we do we're going to take another hunk out of you. Before long we're going to be the last one's standing."

What do you think?