Marie Tillman says no man or woman's service should be "politicized in a way that divides us." The widow of the late Pat Tillman released a statement to CNN's Brian Stelter Monday night after a tweet of her husband's image was shared by President Donald Trump.
On Friday, Trump suggested NFL owners fire players who kneel during the national anthem. The comments sparked a renewed interest and argument over national anthem demonstrations in pro sports. This weekend, however, many NFL owners showed solidarity with their players by either supporting players in statements or joining teams during the national anthem.
Tillman's statement comes after President Donald Trump retweeted an image of Pat Tillman on Monday that had the caption #StandForOurAnthem and #BoycottNFL.
Pat Tillman's image is an easy one to use in the argument; an All-Pro NFL player who also served in the Army. He was a standout student-athlete at Arizona State University before being drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in 1998. Tillman enlisted in the Army after the September 11th terrorist attacks and in doing so declined a multi-million dollar contract offer from the Cardinals. Tillman was killed in action in 2004.
Marie Tillman's full statement:
"As a football player and soldier, Pat inspired countless Americans to unify. 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 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. 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."
Below is the tweet that was retweeted by President Donald Trump on Monday.