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A Football Player Becomes an American Hero

pete-rock

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I just saw this news about Pat Tillman, a former safety with the Arizona Cardinals.

Not all athletes are self-serving idiots. I admire this man's commitment to our country.

EDIT: Sorry, link problems. Pat Tillman was an All-Pro safety with the Arizona Cardinals, who turned down millions to enlist in the Army in May 2002. He became a Ranger and was sent to Afghanistan. He was killed in action yesterday.

Comments?
 

pete-rock

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Here's the full story:

WASHINGTON - Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan after walking away from an NFL career to join the Army Rangers, U.S. officials said Friday.

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said a formal announcement was expected later in the day. Spokesmen at the Pentagon and U.S. Army declined comment.

There were no immediate details how Tillman died. He was 27.

A military official, also speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that a soldier had been killed in action in Afghanistan Thursday, but could not confirm that the soldier was Tillman.

Some members of the Army's elite Ranger units were taking part in the hunt for al-Qaida and Taliban fighters in southeastern Afghanistan, the military official said.

"Pat Tillman was an inspiration both on and off the football field," White House spokesman Taylor Gross said. "As with all who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror, his family is in the thoughts and prayers of President and Mrs. Bush."

Tillman played four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before enlisting in the Army in May 2002. The safety turned down a three-year, $3.6 million deal from Arizona.

He made the decision after returning from his honeymoon with his wife, Marie.

Tillman's brother, Kevin, a former minor league baseball prospect in the Cleveland Indians' organization, also joined the Rangers and served in the Middle East. They committed to three-year stints in the Army.

Tillman's agent, Frank Bauer, has called him a deep and clear thinker who has never valued material things.

In 2001, Tillman turned down a $9 million, five-year offer sheet from the Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams out of loyalty to the Cardinals, and by joining the Army, he passed on millions more from the team.

Tillman turned aside interview requests after joining the Army. In December, during a trip home, he made a surprise visit to his Cardinal teammates.

"For all the respect and love that all of us have for Pat Tillman and his brother and Marie, for what they did and the sacrifices they made ... believe me, if you have a chance to sit down and talk with them, that respect and that love and admiration increase tenfold," Coach Dave McGinnis said at the time. "It was a really, really enriching evening."

It was not immediately clear when Tillman went to Afghanistan.

The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Tillman was distinguished by his intelligence and appetite for rugged play. As an undersized linebacker at Arizona State, he was the Pac-10's defensive player of the year in 1997.

He set a franchise record with 224 tackles in 2000 and warmed up for last year's training camp by competing in a 70.2-mile triathlon in June.

Tillman carried a 3.84 grade point average through college and graduated with high honors in 3 1/2 academic years with a degree in marketing.

"You don't find guys that have that combination of being as bright and as tough as him," Phil Snow, who coached Tillman as Arizona State's defensive coordinator, said in 2002. "This guy could go live in a foxhole for a year by himself with no food."

Tillman and his brother Kevin last year won the Arthur Ashe Courage award at the 11th annual ESPY Awards.

EDIT: Gotta give credit where credit is due. This is an Associated Press story that I saw on Comcast.net.
 

Big Easy King

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He was a very honorable guy not only to give up such a hefty NFL salary, but that he chose to assist in protecting freedom and democracy. I salute him and all our troops! May he rest in peace.
 

Doitnow

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In another thread some days back I posted a message similar to some american members posted. It was about the defence forces pesonnel dying for the nation while the rest of the country drinks beer and watches football( some thing like that)

Having read that article I have my deep respects for Pat Tillman who is no more and to his family for making him such a person.Only those who have lost their close ones in war can understand their grief.

One of the parameters of judging a society is the kind of honour they give to their soldiers and whether they are remembered forever or just forgotten.
I am sorry to say that my country needs to improve on that front. Not that we don't respect and remember the people who die for the country but because the politicians don't seem to feel the same way.The manner in which these ministers forget the sacrifice and dump their efforts under the garb of democracy and what not is amazing.

Tchh!
 

el Guapo

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Sad day indeed...

May he always be remembered among those great citizen-soldiers who gave all for our country. Thank you Sgt. Tilman.

 

pete-rock

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el Guapo said:
May he always be remembered among those great citizen-soldiers who gave all for our country. Thank you Sgt. Tilman.

Well said, EG. Tillman's sacrifice was notable because of what he was prior to enlisting, and because of what he gave up. But there are hundreds of thousands serving right now (and millions before them) that don't get that recognition because their lives are less visible to the public.

I thank them all.
 

SGB

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In putting country before paycheck, Pat Tillman was a hero long before his death in combat.
 

Repo Man

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I agree that Tillman is an American Hero. He has to go down as one of the least selfish athletes ever in any sport. However his family's loss is no worse than those suffered by hundreds of families that have also lost loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan. Every soldier over there has made huge personal sacrifices to protect us by putting college, career, and family on hold while they serve. So while it is commendable that Pat Tillman gave up millions, it is no more commendable than the sacrifices made by the thousands of troops.
 

NHPlanner

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Repo Man said:
I agree that Tillman is an American Hero. He has to go down as one of the least selfish athletes ever in any sport. However his family's loss is no worse than those suffered by hundreds of families that have also lost loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan. Every soldier over there has made huge personal sacrifices to protect us by putting college, career, and family on hold while they serve. So while it is commendable that Pat Tillman gave up millions, it is no more commendable than the sacrifices made by the thousands of troops.

Couldn't have said it any better than Repo. Very well put!
 

el Guapo

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Repo Man said:
...So while it is commendable that Pat Tillman gave up millions, it is no more commendable than the sacrifices made by the thousands of troops.

Repo
I disagree, but in a kind way. His sacrifice is somewhat more commendable for one reason: It goes much more against human nature than can reasonably be expected in this society. Many join the military for economic, education, travel, and the many other benefits the service offers. Anyone familiar with the service and servicemen will tell you the pure patriot is a rare find in our culture. Tillman's death - a huge loss - may remind some citizens who have forgotten what heroism and sacrifice for your country really are. His contribution to America is worthy of note and praise. More details will be forthcoming. Let's hope America treats this situtation with more dignity than the Jessica Lynch episode was given.
 

Tom R

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sad

Not many people would give up the future (and money) he had. It reminds me of some of the stars and atheletes that went into the service in WW!!, James Stewart, Glen Miller, Joe Louis ...many more. I don't apply the term hero very often, but in this case it fits.

There was an NFL player that quit the league and was killed in Vietnam. I don't recall his name. I think he played for the chargers.
 

Repo Man

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I am listening to the Dan Patrick show and he made a great point as to why the media is all over this story. Its not just the fact that he gave up millions, it is that most Americans had hard about him and now there is a "face" on a casualty and that is why people seem more shocked. To many Americans when they hear someone died serving the country it’s a person that they have never met or seen, so it kind of sanitizes it. With Tillman it is the opposite. Many people know who is was and now people feel like they know someone who died.
 

pete-rock

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el Guapo said:
Repo
I disagree, but in a kind way. His sacrifice is somewhat more commendable for one reason: It goes much more against human nature than can reasonably be expected in this society. Many join the military for economic, education, travel, and the many other benefits the service offers. Anyone familiar with the service and servicemen will tell you the pure patriot is a rare find in our culture. Tillman's death - a huge loss - may remind some citizens who have forgotten what heroism and sacrifice for your country really are.

It's not often that I agree with EG 100%, but this is one instance when I do.

There's that old saying, "To whom much is given, much is required." More often, people act as if the saying is, "To whom much is given, they should get more." Much was given to Pat Tillman, yet he felt he was required to serve.

It's not just those who have few options that should serve the country; it should be the responsibility of all. I see that as the story here.
 

SlaveToTheGrind

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Repo Man said:
I agree that Tillman is an American Hero. He has to go down as one of the least selfish athletes ever in any sport. However his family's loss is no worse than those suffered by hundreds of families that have also lost loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan. Every soldier over there has made huge personal sacrifices to protect us by putting college, career, and family on hold while they serve. So while it is commendable that Pat Tillman gave up millions, it is no more commendable than the sacrifices made by the thousands of troops.

I agree as well. Every death in Iraq/Afghanistan hits closer to home now that my brother is in Iraq. But what Tillman did is no more special than what any other soldier has done. My brother is leaving his wife and two kids, which cannot every be compensated by money. True, he is an officer and that is his job. It was the same for Tillman, the job calls for it and it can be dangerous.
 
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el Guapo said:
Repo
I disagree, but in a kind way. His sacrifice is somewhat more commendable for one reason: It goes much more against human nature than can reasonably be expected in this society. Many join the military for economic, education, travel, and the many other benefits the service offers. Anyone familiar with the service and servicemen will tell you the pure patriot is a rare find in our culture. Tillman's death - a huge loss - may remind some citizens who have forgotten what heroism and sacrifice for your country really are. His contribution to America is worthy of note and praise. More details will be forthcoming. Let's hope America treats this situtation with more dignity than the Jessica Lynch episode was given.

Good point, but I don't necessarily agree. Define a true patriot - is he or she one to lay down EVERYTHING that they have, including their life, for their country or does it involve more than that? I don't know I'm just asking. What Tillman did was commendable regardless of his reasons for joining as well as the other troopers that have passed on and those that are still out there. It seems like Tillman's sacrifice is perceived as "greater" than others because he gave up a multi-million dollar career. I don't like the notion of equating personal sacrifice with money. His sacrifice was no different than anyone else's.
 

Wulf9

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I have particular admiration for the Reservists and National Guardspeople who are leaving the middle class equivalent of a million dollar salary to serve. A couple of examples from neighboring cities - a city council member and a city engineer have been called. These men and women leave good jobs, family, and friends for a year or more. I am ever hopeful that we can resolve this conflict and get them home sooner rather than later.
 

pete-rock

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I heard a report on sports radio about this on Friday. A former teammate of Pat Tillman's was interviewed, saying he spoke with Tillman just two weeks ago. The former teammate said that he regularly received calls from reporters, knowing that he had a connection to Tillman and wondering if he could convince him to do an interview.

Tillman's response, according to the former teammate: "There are hundreds of thousands of servicemen fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. After the reporters have interviewed all of them, I'm available."
 
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