Rory Fanning, an Army Ranger who served with Pat Tillman in Afghanistan, has made some very to-the-point comments on those attempting to politicize Tillman’s death amid protests in the NFL.
“I think they would have a lot more in common with people like Michael Bennett and Colin Kaepernick than they do with the people who stand on the sidelines and jeer and try to repress their dissent,” Fanning said on Tillman. “So I’d be shocked if Pat Tillman wasn’t out there taking a knee with these players because Pat cared about people who were exploited, people who were oppressed.”
The mentions of Tillman come after President Trump shared this tweet on his Twitter in the middle of his ongoing war-of-words with the NFL.
Tilman’s widow, Marie Tillman, also released a statement on Trump sharing the photo:
“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.”
“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,” she wrote.
“Those that serve fight for the American ideals of freedom, justice and democracy,” she wrote. “They and their families know the cost of that fight. I know the very personal costs in a way I feel acutely every day. 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. Even if they didn’t always agree with those views.”
Tillman was an NFL player who gave up his Arizona Cardinals contract and became an Army Ranger in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. He was killed in the mountains of Afghanistan in what the Pentagon later determined was a friendly fire incident.