As the “Take a Knee” debate continues on, Marie Tillman, the widow of NFL star and Army Ranger Pat Tillman, has asked that her husband not be used for political gain.
Most people know that Pat Tillman gave up his NFL Arizona Cardinals contract to serve the United States in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, but was killed in a friendly fire incident in 2004.
President Trump recently tweeted a photograph of Tillman accompanied by the hashtags #StandForOurAnthem and #BoycottNFL, a move that forced Marie Tillman to make the following statement:
“Pat’s service, along with that of every man and woman’s service, should never be politicized in a way that divides us. We are too great of a country for that.”
The Take a Knee movement was started by quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the National Anthem before a pre-season game for the San Francisco 49ers in 2016.
Kaepernick had said: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.
The president has been very vocal regarding his criticisms of NFL players taking a knee, and of the NFL owners’ tolerance of the gesture.
“The very action of self expression and the freedom to speak from one’s heart — no matter those views — is what Pat and so many other Americans have given their lives for,” Marie Tillman said. “Even if they didn’t always agree with those views.”
Team owners, even some who have supported Trump’s campaign, showed solidarity with their players.
“As a football player and soldier, Pat inspired countless Americans to unify,” Marie said. “It is my hope that his memory should always remind people that we must come together.”