The Pat Tillman Legacy
by Jesse Shuter
Photo courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org /wiki/Pat_Tillman
This past monday, November 11th was Veterans Day. Veterans Day is a day in which we honor and remember all the men and women that risk and have lost their lives fighting for our country. There are many reasons and stories of people joining the military, but none more touching than the story of Pat Tillman.
This Sunday the NFL honored military veterans in many ways. All the staff and players could be seen on the sidelines and on the field wearing the camouflage colors of the army. In addition, veterans and soldiers were honored by taking a break from the armed forces to spend a day with NFL players. The last way the NFL recognized Veterans Day was to raise money for veterans’ foundations, one of which was the Pat Tillman Foundation.
The story of Pat Tillman is one of the most courageous stories I have ever heard. Tillman was a professional football player, who played safety for Arizona Cardinals.
In college Tillman was an incredible athlete. Despite his somewhat smaller stature, he played linebacker at Arizona State University. He led ASU to an undefeated season and was voted Pac-10 defensive player of the year. Not only was Tillman an incredible athlete, but he was also very bright. He graduated college after three and a half years with a 3.85 GPA.
In May 2002, after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Tillman was offered a 3 year, 3.6 million dollar contract. Tillman did something that probably no other NFL player, or most other people for that matter, would have done. He turned down the potential fortune of money to join the army and help his struggling country. He did this because of the feeling of obligation towards his country.
The tragic part of this story is what happened next. After joining the Army Rangers, he was sent to Afghanistan. Tillman was killed in battle. It was first reported that he was killed by enemy fire and he was awarded with the silver star for valor. The Pentagon later revealed that he was actually killed by friendly fire.
This is a man who was on top of the world by today’s standards and gave it all away just because of a sense of responsibility he felt for his country. This man should be a role model for not only all football players but all Americans in today’s society.
My reason for writing this article is to spread the word of Pat Tillman’s legacy. Pat Tillman is an American hero, but you don’t hear about him unless you watch the NFL so I wanted to make sure that all the people that read this article understand true devotion and honor.
The Take Away:
Today in the NFL more players are punished than any other professional sport. Let me explain what I mean by that. Whenever there is reports of DUIs or murders by professional athletes it is most likely the NFL.
Ray Lewis allegedly killed someone. Aaron Hernandez allegedly killed someone. Dez Bryant beat his own mother. Justin Blackmon has been suspended twice for drug abuse. Richie Incognito has been fined and cut for abusing and bullying fellow teammates. There are countless examples of criminal and immoral behavior that these professional athletes.
It’s not just the lack of criminal activity that makes Tillman such an outstanding character. Today, athletes continually prove that they are only looking out for themselves. They are always searching for the biggest contracts, and the most glory. If they don’t get what they want they stop showing up to practice. It isn’t about the game or even the team anymore. Professional sports are about the players today.
This is why a man like Pat Tillman is so rare. It is hard to find an NFL player who is such a good person anymore. Don’t get me wrong, there are so many great people in the NFL and I am not saying that all football players are bad people, but it is so hard to find someone of outstanding character like Tillman.
Shuter’s Sleeper of the Week:
Percy Harvin (WR) Seahawks-
This should be Harvin’s first game back, and after a long recovery period I believe he will come ready to play. This speedy and almost electric receiver is going up against the Minnesota Vikings, who have one of the worst defenses in football, at home in Seattle. Seattle is notoriously one of if not the hardest stadium for an away team to play in. This is because of the stadium’s design in which the sound from the stands bounces off the roof and directly onto the field. I expect Harvin to get at least one touchdown assuming he plays, but I also expect Golden Tate to get a healthy helping of points.