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WWJD
Photo Credit: New York Post

WWJD #24: A Legend and a Tale of Two Heroes

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Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback, Brett Favre, was never scared of anything on the field. He played in 297 straight games, and in those games, he played through injury, pain, and even a day after his father passed away. Favre never backed down from talking trash or getting in the face of an opponent (just ask fellow Hall of Famer’s Warren Sapp or John Randle). He also was respected by his peers, coaching staff, and fans.  

 

WWJD
Photo Credit: Business Insider

But Favre made some waves earlier in the week when he compared the late Arizona Cardinals safety and former U.S. Army Ranger Pat Tillman and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The former Green Bay Packers great said that there are parallels between Tillman and Kaepernick, and people got pissed. 

“It’s not easy for a guy his age — black or white, Hispanic, whatever — to stop something that you’ve always dreamed of doing, and put it on hold, maybe forever, for something that you believe in,” Favre said of Kaepernick to TMZ. “I can only think of right off the top of my head. Pat Tillman is another guy who did something similar. And, we regard him as a hero. So, I’d assume that hero status will be stamped with Kaepernick as well.” 

What is wrong with what Favre said? Why was there an uproar about it? I hate to break the news to some of you (not really), but Brett Favre is right!

 

Heroes are not limited to just athletic prowess, military service, or being a celebrity.

 

What Favre was saying is that in time Kaepernick would be looked upon like Tillman. A person who helped bring change and a sense of pride when we needed it the most. In Kaepernick’s case, he raised awareness for social injustice and systemic racism that has plagued the United States for centuries.

I spoke to a long-time friend and a former teammate of Tillman at Arizona State, Jason Reynolds, this week. I asked Jason if Tillman would have supported Kaepernick kneeling, “You know what bro, I don’t know, no one does, but I have an idea,” Reynolds said to me.

PT had a way of talking to people, like our coaches, that was different. He thought differently so when he spoke he conveyed it in a respectful way, even if he didn’t’ agree with them,” Reynolds continued “The way PT was, it’s crazy, but he was that guy in the locker room that everyone respected, and when he used his voice to speak about something, he was normally right.”

 

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Photo Credit: Daily Mail

Jason then shared a personal story with me that got us both choked up.

“We’re playing BYU at home, and we’re having a battle in the trenches! They were cut blocking and playing dirty on the line, so me and Vince Amey were giving them the business. After a pileup, one of their offensive linemen calls me a N****r! I lose my shit and am about to get a penalty when Pat grabs me by the neck roll to pull me back into our huddle, and I’m yelling, “but PT, he called me a N****r!” Pats says as calm as can be, “ARE you one???” And let go of my pads!

That hit me like a tone of bricks. Then Pat said, “now kick his ass for the rest of the game!”

Any time I think of PT or hear of him in conversation, this story ALWAYS comes to mind. There’s no way to know what he would think of Kaep kneeling, and all that has transpired since. I do know he would have stood by his brothers and had our back just like he did on the football field and on the battlefield where he paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country!”

 

Favre has since clarified what he was trying to say for those who didn’t understand.

 

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Photo Credit: Twitter

 

In a tweet he sent out on Monday, June 22nd, Favre said, “Including Pat Tillman’s name in the interview on Colin Kaepernick was not a comparison of the two, but a recognition that they both sidelined their football dreams in pursuit of a cause. Pat tragically lost his life, making the ultimate sacrifice, and deserves the highest honor.”

But Favre made his point loud and clear. While Tillman and Kaepernick, on the surface, were fighting for two different causes, they weren’t/aren’t. Both have a belief in freedom for all people. Their goal was/is to have America united, and as one, just as we’ve been taught since day one.

 

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Photo Credit: Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

While Tillman died serving, Kaepernick put his career and ability to make a ton of money on the line so those who are victims of social injustice can have a voice. Both made millions playing in the NFL; both men decided to leave money on the table from the NFL to fight for a more significant and noble cause.

Taking a knee was never about the flag or being unpatriotic. It was about bringing light to an issue in our country that has been overlooked and accepted by too many people for far too long.

 

 

 

Heroes don’t always wear a badge, serve in the service, or are great at sports or entertainment. Heroes are people who stand up for what they feel is right. They fight for change and for those who don’t have a voice. They don’t back down when times get tough. Pat Tillman and Colin Kaepernick have done that, and kudos to Brett Favre for recognizing it and speaking on it.

Colin Kaepernick   Pat Tillman    Colin Kaepernick   Pat Tillman    Colin Kaepernick   Pat Tillman    Colin Kaepernick   Pat Tillman    Colin Kaepernick   Pat Tillman    Colin Kaepernick   Pat Tillman    Colin Kaepernick   Pat Tillman    Colin Kaepernick   Pat Tillman     

 

Peace✌🏽

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-Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

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