In recent weeks, celebrities, corporations, and politicians alike have rushed to proactively and preemptively absolve themselves of accusations of racism by pandering to the narrative demanded by the Black Lives Matter movement. Most recently, legendary Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre’s interview with TMZ Sports demonstrated that any and all sense of decency, reality, and perspective has been abandoned in favor of this narrative.
While discussing the former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick - seen by many as the central activist behind the notion of “taking a knee” - Brett Favre made a comparison so utterly absurd and deeply offensive that NFL medics should reconsider their policies regarding brain injuries. According to TMZ Sports, Favre “believes Kaepernick will go down as a legend for what he's done to combat systemic racism.”
"It's not easy for a guy his age -- black or white, Hispanic, whatever -- to stop something that you've always dreamed of doing, and put it on hold, maybe forever, for something that you believe in. I can only think of right off the top of my head, Pat Tillman is another guy that did something similar. And, we regard him as a hero. So, I'd assume that hero status will be stamped with Kaepernick as well."
Pat Tillman was a former NFL player who turned down a multi-million dollar contract with the Arizona Cardinals in 2002 to enlist in the U.S. Army in the aftermath of 9/11. Tillman joined the Army Rangers, and served several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. On April 22nd 2004, Pat Tillman was killed in the line of duty. Pat Tillman is an American hero who sacrificed both his sporting career and his life in service of his country.
Conversely, Colin Kaepernick is a former NFL player whose activism began from the bench as his career declined. Despite his demonstrably mediocre abilities as a quarterback and inflammatory acts of protest including wearing socks depicting police officers as pigs, Kaepernick has benefited from the profitable business of professional activism, netting an endorsement deal with Nike with the infamous phrase “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt.”
Pat Tillman believed in something, and sacrificed everything. Colin Kaepernick believes in something, but has sacrificed nothing. Indeed, the only things Kaepernick has sacrificed are the repeated opportunities given by the NFL to reignite his career, despite his shockingly average performance as a player. Why, when offered a private training session in 2019, did Kaepernick decide not to attend? Because the theory of victimhood is more powerful than the reality of sporting inability.
The issue here is not Kaepernick’s right to protest, his methods of protest, or even his petulant demand to play in the NFL while simultaneously making it clear that he prefers to remain an activist. The issue is the disgusting disrespect to the memory of Pat Tillman by likening his sacrifice to Kaepernick’s pursuit of fame and financial success.
To compare Pat Tillman’s ultimate heroism to Colin Kaepernick’s lucrative activism is as demonstrably absurd as comparing Brett Favre’s prowess on the football field to Colin Kaepernick’s decidedly average career.
Tillman gave his life for his beliefs. Kaepernick has become a millionaire for his. Pat Tillman is a hero. Colin Kaepernick is not.