Marie Tillman, the widow of former NFL player and Army Ranger Pat Tillman does not want her husband’s military service to be used in ways that could divide the country.
On Monday, Marie Tillman released a statement to CNN after President Trump retweeted a picture of her husband using the hashtag #StandForOurAnthem and #BoycottNFL in the wake of NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem over the past weekend.
Pat Tillman played for the Arizona Cardinals but gave up his contract and left the NFL in 2002 to join the U.S. Army. Tillman was killed in 2004 by friendly fire.
Tillman’s life journey has inspired people around the country to come together, and his name should not be used in any way that could divide Americans. Marie Tillman wanted to express her feelings about people using his name in ways that could possibly divide the country and its citizens.
“As a football player and soldier, Pat inspired countless Americans to unify," Marie Tillman told 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 very act 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,” she wrote in the statement. “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."
On Sunday, Pat Tillman’s former team, the Arizona Cardinals joined other teams around the league by taking a knee or locking arms in solidarity during the National Anthem.