Honor Pat Tillman, Not Colin Kaepernick

Despite Nike's pompous slogan adorning its new poster child for its corporate insanity and the NFL's ongoing death wish as both slap our military veterans and the flag and our freedoms in the face, former quarterback Colin Kaepernick has sacrificed nothing compared to those who risked their lives for this country and its freedoms like former Arizona Cardinals star Pat Tillman.

While some who would diminish and denigrate his genuine heroism and patriotism like to point out that Tillman was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan, the fact remains that he willingly gave up a lucrative Hall  of Fame career to put his life on the line for his country:

Former Arizona Cardinals safety Pat Tillman was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for leading his Army Rangers unit to the rescue of comrades caught in an ambush.

Tillman was shot and killed in Afghanistan while fighting "without regard for his personal safety," the Army said Friday in announcing the award[.] ...

The Silver Star, awarded for gallantry on the battlefield, is one of the most distinguished military honors[.] ...

Tillman's group was already safely out of the area, but when the trailing group came under fire he ordered his men to get out of their vehicles and move up a hill toward the enemy.

As Tillman crested the hill he returned fire with his M249 automatic weapon, a lightweight machine gun.

"Through the firing Tillman's voice was heard issuing fire commands to take the fight to the enemy on the dominating high ground," the award announcement said.  "Only after his team engaged the well-armed enemy did it appear their fires diminished.

"As a result of his leadership and his team's efforts, the platoon trail section was able to maneuver through the ambush to positions of safety without a single casualty." ...

Tillman, 27, walked away from a three-year, $3.6-million contract offer from the Arizona Cardinals to join the Army in 2002.

Greater love hath no man than that he lay down his life for his friends.  Kaepernick was last seen running to the bank to deposit his Nike checks while muttering something about oppression, racism, and social injustice.  Yet, like many of the social justice warriors now prevalent in the NFL, Kaepernick never took a knee as young black men were being slaughtered with impunity on the streets of Chicago and other inner cities under President Obama.  Now he and his ilk conjure up imaginary conspiracies of police to murder as many black men as they can.  As Fox News host Sean Hannity rightly observed:

"'Sacrificing everything' is not a multimillionaire social justice warrior whose greatest feat of bravery [is] kneeling on a football field[.]" ...

[Hannity] said soldiers, law enforcement officers and firefighters are the ones who truly sacrifice everything.

"There are millions of men and women who have really sacrificed everything for strangers they didn't even know, so the world, this country, could be a better, safer, freer place[,]" Hannity said.

"There are plenty of heroes in this country that Nike could feature, but [a] Castro-loving ... cop-hating, ex-three-year-backup quarterback is not one of them."

Everybody is free to pick his own heroes, but Kaepernick complains about oppression and social injustice as he once defended Cuban oppression while sporting t-shirts honoring Cuba's Communist murderer Che Guevara, dictator Fidel Castro's right-hand man:

When the reporter, who hasn't been named, pressed Kaepernick specifically on Castro's history of oppression, he replied: 'One thing that Fidel Castro did do is they have the highest literacy rate because they invest more in their education system than they do in their prison system, which we do not do here, even though we're fully capable of doing that.'

The reporter replied: 'He also did something that we do not do here: he broke up families, he took over a country without any justice and without any election'.

Excusing the oppression and tyranny of a communist dictator who denied his people freedom of speech, press, religion, and movement as thousands languished in Cuban jails is on par with Kaepernick's ignoring that most of the injustice he bemoans happens in cities run by progressive liberal Democrats like the Chicago of Barack Obama and the soon to be former mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emmanuel, who abandoned his re-election campaign after Chicago blacks told him to get lost.

Whenever I hear NFL players who take a knee during the National Anthem, I am reminded of the double amputees who have returned from America's wars and the fact that while, because of their sacrifice over centuries, we are entitled to speak freely, none of us is entitled to a particular forum.

NFL players are employees of a larger organization, just like Curt Schilling was when ESPN fired him for what he thought was protected speech.  The speech is protected.  Your access to a particular forum is not.  They are teammates in a sport that pays these allegedly oppressed spoiled brats millions.  Their teammates may share a different view, so does the locker room become a game prep area or a debating society?  Does the field remain a sporting arena or a campaign rally?  Those who take a knee were indeed given that right by many who no longer have knees and are privileged to take a knee in a sport paid for by millions of fans who may disagree with them and who paid to see a game, not a protest.  Players who take a knee think they are being patriotic, when they are merely being self-indulgent and selfish.  Go rent out a stadium and invite people to pay just to see you take a knee, and see if anybody shows up.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell whines that President Trump's remarks about respecting the flag and the National Anthem are disrespectful of NFL players:

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Saturday that President Trump's recent comments about players kneeling during the national anthem are "divisive" and show a "lack of respect" for the pro football league and its players.

"The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture," he said in a statement.  "Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities."

Millionaires taking a knee during the National Anthem to protest alleged social injustice do not build unity and are not a force for good.  Look up in the stands, players, and see the diversity and equality of those, including veterans, who came to see you shut up and play.

Those who would take a knee to protest the American flag likely have never been handed a folded one.  NFL players who want to take a knee should talk to the wounded warriors who no longer can.

Honor the likes of Pat Tillman, not Colin Kaepernick, whose idea of a social justice warrior is Che Guevara.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor's Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.

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