It might have been too much to ask of Nike: Use another former professional football player and true American hero for your ad campaign. And it isn’t Colin Kaepernick.
In 2002, with 9/11 still fresh in his mind, 27 year-old, Arizona Cardinals’ defensive back, Pat Tillman walked away from a $3.6 million contract to join the Army.
He was shot and killed by “friendly” fire in Afghanistan shortly after leading his Army Rangers up a hill toward the enemy after he and comrades came under fire. Because of much of his effort, none of his men became casualties.
In 2004 he was awarded the Silver Star posthumously for gallantry on the battlefield. According to the L.A. Times, the Army said he engaged the enemy “without regard for his personal safety” in presenting the award.