April 23, 2004

Pat Tillman, the former NFL player who turned down a $9-million, five-year offer to enlist in the military, has been killed during a firefight in Afghanistan.

posted by rcade to football at 09:57 AM - 28 comments

Previous spofi discussions here . Terrible news.

posted by corpse at 10:01 AM on April 23

I just heard this on the radio... Thoughts and prayers to Pat and his family.

posted by 86 at 10:02 AM on April 23

Wow. Since he and his brother were going to be Rangers, I knew they would be in combat situations. They are an elite squad. But never did I actually feel they would be put into action so quickly.

posted by usfbull at 10:06 AM on April 23

Stupid cliche, but it does make things a little more real. It's not as though we knew him, but it sucks to even know of someone who died Over There. Wonder if Simeon Rice still thinks it's no big deal.

posted by yerfatma at 10:08 AM on April 23


posted by jeffmshaw at 10:28 AM on April 23


posted by vito90 at 10:34 AM on April 23

Man. He knew what he was getting into. He embraced it. But -- man. Somehow, the Cardinals retiring his number doesn't seem like an appropriate memorial for someone who believed like Pat did. Does the NFL have a service/citizenship type award, like say, the Masterton Trophy in hockey or something similar, that could be named for him?

posted by chicobangs at 10:37 AM on April 23

me too. .

posted by jerseygirl at 10:45 AM on April 23

posted by garfield at 10:45 AM on April 23

I'm seriously creeped out, because just yesterday my mind was wandering as it often does, and out of nowhere the thought "I wonder how that guy from the Cards who enlisted in the army is doing" came to me. At the time of his enlistment, he seemed a little out there to me, but he obviously put his money where his mouth was, and props to him for that. I feel for his family. I just hope the Cards don't cynically turn this into a jingoistic circus. I don't know the Cards organization, but I hope they handle this with more dignity than is often the case when patriotism and sports intersect.

posted by deadcowdan at 11:11 AM on April 23

This is making me tear up. Why the fuck do we have to lose guys like this?

posted by vito90 at 11:31 AM on April 23

Sad news indeed. Tillman was a fan favorite around here (Phoenix), went to ASU and then to the Cards. It was shocking here when he joined the military, but he did it the right way. No self-aggrandizing, no ulterior motives, no media circus throughout basic training. He just said he was going to do it and did it. In this age of the multi-million dollar contracts and bling-bling lifestyle of professional athletes, the thought of one leaving it all with no motive other than to serve and to do one's duty, for patriotism, is hard for many to fathom. This man didn't just slap a flag on his car on September 12th and say "See how patriotic I am", he did what he felt needed to be done. I applaud, salute, and thank you Pat Tillman. deadcowdan, I share your concerns re: the Cards. A more greedy, inept, and callous lot than the Bidwell's would be hard to find.

posted by pivo at 11:41 AM on April 23

. . .

posted by Ufez Jones at 11:55 AM on April 23

I don't know what's more shocking -- Tillman's decision to leave all that money on the table to enlist or his refusal to use it as a PR opportunity.

posted by rcade at 11:59 AM on April 23

or his refusal to use it as a PR opportunity. As opposed to, one assumes, the Cardinals or the NFL in the next season.

posted by yerfatma at 12:18 PM on April 23

I hate this war. I hate that we're losing men and women, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, daddies and mommies, en masse everyday.

posted by jerseygirl at 12:27 PM on April 23

As opposed to, one assumes, the Cardinals or the NFL in the next season. or a certain former owner of the texass rangers.

posted by danostuporstar at 12:40 PM on April 23


posted by geekyguy at 01:17 PM on April 23

Does the NFL have a service/citizenship type award, like say, the Masterton Trophy in hockey or something similar, that could be named for him? The NFL has a Man of the Year award that honors players for their off-the-field work, but it's already been named after Walter Payton.

posted by hootch at 02:30 PM on April 23


posted by Joey Michaels at 02:35 PM on April 23


posted by trox at 02:47 PM on April 23


posted by Mike McD at 05:41 PM on April 23

jerseygirl, I heart you and I guess acknowledge the reality that we humans just aren't capable of this kind of emotion for every single American/coalition/innocent Iraqi soldier and citizen who lose their life in this tragic farce. Tillman's high profile makes him a receptacle for our grief.

posted by billsaysthis at 09:30 PM on April 23

That blows. And it's sad that it takes the death of a sports figure to make us all feel like this. It would be great if we had an article written about everyone who dies at war - not just the famous ones or the cute ones. But I'm sure we'd get desensitized to that pretty quickly, too. It's all very, very sad.

posted by Samsonov14 at 01:35 AM on April 24


posted by goddam at 03:28 PM on April 25

Strange that Tillman seemed to desire the anonymity and not blow his decision into a media-frenzy, which should give anyone enough insight into his quality of character, - and that this is the exact effect of his death. I am really not looking forward to the opening of football season - this will be leveraged to no end. He seems to have died doing what he clearly felt was the only right thing to do (for him). Isn't that less than tragic?

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:51 PM on April 25

Two points: If you need war to put football in perspective you have a problem. I'm sick of Fox News exploiting Tillman (an other fallen troops) for their Republican, jingoistic agenda.

posted by Bag Man at 03:54 PM on April 26

Speaking of exploitation . . .

posted by yerfatma at 07:41 PM on April 26

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