Marie Tillman, the widow of Army Ranger and former NFL star Pat Tillman, took to the op-ed page of the Washington Post with a single message: Those who use her slain husband’s legacy to foster political and social agendas are doing so in error.
“When you’re an icon, which Pat became, your legacy has to be guarded,” Tillman wrote in the piece, which was published Nov. 11. “An icon’s life and image enter the public domain and people often try to co-opt it to suit their own needs.”
Tillman went on to describe how her late husband would have reacted to the NFL players’ protests during the playing of the National Anthem. It is impossible, she wrote, to compare what he would have thought when he was 27 when he was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan to how he would react today.
“I can say that he would have engaged in thoughtful discourse, never shying away from the nuance, never taking the easy way, and looking, always, for a conversation instead of a fight,” she wrote.