July 17, 2003

Giving up the riches ...: to get into the trenches. This is an old story, but Pat Tillman and his brother were honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs last night for leaving professional sports to enlist in the Army. Simeon Rice said at the time it was no big deal. Your thoughts?

posted by wfrazerjr to culture at 08:19 AM - 7 comments

Refreshing personal choice. OTOH, the fact that Tillmans did not show up for the award and their consistent refusal to give interviews shows that they don't want the publicity or notoriety and so why don't the stoopid journalists (sorry, wf) just leave them the fuck alone?

posted by billsaysthis at 10:52 AM on July 17, 2003

S'kay, Bill ... I'm not one of the stupid ones. :) As for leaving them alone, that's not our job. It's a story whether they want it to be or not. Notice they weren't castigated for not answering questions. We just do what we have to do without them. I admire them for what they did, and it does make you think about Ted Williams et al giving up their careers to enter the military. Does it say that people now are less patriotic, or that we're more cynical about why we go to war?

posted by wfrazerjr at 11:02 AM on July 17, 2003

I'm guessing it's a combination of those two and some other things, wfrazer. I don't know about less patriotic, but more skeptical for sure. Plus, this was a much more controversial war, a much smaller war, less of a no-brainer, and with less (for the most part) implications and danger. Add the completely reduced attention span and media saturation plus a whole lot more diversions for the public (I doubt the Laci Peterson case would've made news in January of 1944, for example) and you've got a recipe for a whole lot less stuff. Plus, Ted Williams was a already a national hero before going to war. I have no idea who Pat Tillman or his brother are.

posted by Ufez Jones at 01:19 PM on July 17, 2003

WF - I don't think we're suffering from any lack of patriotism these days. Rationality, maybe, but patriotism - no.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:34 PM on July 17, 2003

I believe that as we speak, Pat Tillman is about three weeks into a 90-day elite Ranger training program in Fort Lewis, Washington, about an hour south of Seattle. If this is true, he probably would have rather been feted at the ESPY awards last night. Then again, it's just as likely he's right where he wants to be. For the record, I have tons of admiration for him for what he did.

posted by vito90 at 05:49 PM on July 17, 2003

wf, I can see the coverage when he first enlisted. But things like the ESPY are not in the same category and more for the glorification of, well of the ESPYs than the Tillmans. And as far as the WWII and Korea-era athletes, I think the country was a different place then, and let's not forget there was a draft in place.

posted by billsaysthis at 07:12 PM on July 17, 2003

At least for Korea there was a draft, I'm not 100% on WWII but I remember my dad saying that every American male wanted to enlist, he was only pissed he was a year too young.

posted by billsaysthis at 07:12 PM on July 17, 2003

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