President Donald Trump retweeted a call to boycott the NFL over players’ protesting of racial discrimination. The post included an image of former Arizona Cardinals safety and U.S. Army Ranger Pat Tillman.
On Monday, Tillman’s widow Marie Tillman clapped back.
Here’s what the president retweeted:
— Ⓙay (@jayMAGA45) September 24, 2017
“As a football player and soldier, Pat inspired countless Americans to unify,” Marie Tillman said in a statement to CNN. “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. Those that serve fight for the American ideals of freedom, justice and democracy. 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 September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks inspired Pat Tillman to walk away from his NFL career in 2012 after four seasons to enlist in the Army with his brother, then a Cleveland Indians farmhand.
In 2004, he was killed by friendly fire. The Army initially announced that Tillman had been killed by enemy fire. Writer Jon Krakauer’s book Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman details how the military covered up the truth of his death, including withholding the circumstances from Tillman’s family to further the interests of the armed forces.
He was an atheist and was critical of the Iraq War.
“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 continued. “Even if they didn’t always agree with those views. It is my sincere hope that our leaders both understand and learn from the lessons of Pat’s life and death, and also those of so many other brave Americans.”