As our country continues to move forward, arm in arm, in pursuit of concepts such as social justice and racial equality in response to the death of George Floyd, former Super Bowl winning QB and Hall of Famer, Brett Favre, decided he would once again come out of retirement and step into the spotlight.
In a video released by TMZ this past Sunday, Favre made a incomprehensible statement that really makes one question why he would say such a thing. Here is the quote:
“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.
“I can only think of right off the top of my head, Pat Tillman is another guy that did something similar,” Favre said. “And, we regard him as a hero. So, I’d assume that hero status will be stamped with Kaepernick as well.”
For those of you who don’t know, Pat Tillman played safety for the Arizona Cardinals before leaving the game of football in 2002 to serve his country in response to the September 11th attacks. After completing basic training, Tillman was deployed to Iraq where he completed one tour of duty. When Tillman returned to the States, he enrolled and graduated from Army Ranger school and was subsequently deployed to Afghanistan. On April 22, 2004, Tillman was killed by friendly fire.
Tillman was opposed to the war in Iraq. He held certain beliefs that contradicted what the United States was doing in the Middle East. Of course, he is not alone. More importantly, those beliefs did not contradict his sense of duty.
In 2005, the Associated Press reported that Tillman was offered an honorable discharge by the United States Army which would allow Tillman to return to football. The Army Ranger did not accept the offer and vowed that he would serve three more years. Tragically, he died four months later. That is true heroism.
On the other hand, we have Colin Kaepernick. The former 49ers QB has been out of the job since the conclusion of the 2016 season when he was benched early on for backup QB Blaine Gabbert. Instead of standing up for the flag that allows him to still make millions of dollars playing a sport (sitting on the bench for him), Kaepernick takes a knee as the national anthem is sung in protest of police brutality against minorities.
His stance against police brutality is a stance we can all get behind. In fact, police brutality is immoral and disgusting. However, taking a knee to the flag that countless lives have died for in pursuit of freedom, and the flag which has allowed multitudes (including Kaepernick) to make millions playing a sport seems puzzling.
Favre made the comment that Kaepernick put his career on hold to stand up for what he believes in. No, Kaepernick was cut because the 49ers were looking to start over just like any NFL team in history who has experienced consecutive losing seasons. He was offered a spot by the Denver Broncos but he turned it down. He had a “tryout” last year before the 2019 season, but Kaepernick made the decision to change the venue 30 minutes before so he could get his media team to video. He also landed a large settlement with the NFL as compensation for being “blackballed.” Oh, on top of all of that, he has a multi-million dollar contract with NIKE who currently has sweat shops in China where the government is taking away the democratic rights of the people.
Seems pretty hypocritical, right? Who profits off protesting social injustice? Better yet, where else can one protest in that fashion, at their job, and still receive money? All very valid questions. A hero makes sacrifices. Kaepernick hasn’t sacrificed. On the contrary, he profits.
Along with Pat Tillman, these men are the real heroes of the NFL. They served their country and made sacrifices so that people like you and me and Kaepernick can live our lives free and full of liberty. These men deserve all the heroism us and Brett Favre can give them.
Bob Kalsu – Played college football at the University of Oklahoma and drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 1968. After starting one season at Guard, he enlisted in the Army and was killed in Vietnam in 1970; two days before his wife gave birth to their first child.
Don Steinbrunner – After being a two sport athlete at Washington State, he was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 1953 where he played offensive tackle. In 1954, he joined the Air Force and served at some capacity at the Air Force Academy. In 1967, he was deployed to Vietnam and was killed in a plane crash after taking fire from the enemy.
Chuck Bednarik – The former Philadelphia Eagles bruising linebacker and center flew in over thirty combat missions over Germany in World War II prior to his Hall of Fame career from 1949-1962.
Chad Hennings – A graduate from the Air Force Academy, Henning was deployed twice to the Pershing Gulf in 1991. He was a part of a mission that provided relief and humanitarian aid to Kurdish refugees and was twice awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal. He would go on to win 3 Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys while playing defensive tackle from 1992-2000.
Bryce Fisher – An Air Force Academy graduate, Fisher had to hold off on the NFL after being drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 1999. He would go on to serve almost three years in the Air Force. He was able to rejoin the Bills in 2001 and would play for the St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks, and Tennessee Titans throughout his career.
Joe Cardona – Cardona is unique. He is currently both the long snapper for the New England Patriots as well as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserves by meeting the minimum requirements of the Navy. At 28 years old, he is a two-time Super Bowl champion and assisted in a joint effort in Korea as a supply corps officer in the spring of 2018.
Mike Anderson – Prior to beginning his NFL career as a running back for the Denver Broncos and then the Baltimore Ravens from 2000-2007, Anderson actually paved his way to the NFL through his time with the U.S. Marines. While in the Marines, he played on one of their contact football teams and was given a chance to play JUCO ball then at the University of Utah.
Allejandro Villanueva – Currently playing left tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2014, Villanueva is probably most thought of when it comes to this national anthem talk. In 2017, the Pittsburgh Steelers did not take the field prior to the game against the Chicago Bears in order to avoid national anthem controversy. Villanueva, however, did decide to be the sole representative of the Steelers and stood alone as the anthem played. Prior to his NFL career, Villanueva was deployed three times to Afghanistan and was awarded the Bronze Star as an Army Ranger.
Rocky Bleier – This guy is an absolute stud. Not only did he star at running back for the four-time Super Bowl winning Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s, he has a tremendous story while serving in Vietnam. After being the drafted by the Steelers in 1968, the Notre Dame kid was drafted to Vietnam where he was badly wounded. As a result of an ambush, Bleir was shot in the left thigh, lost part of his right foot due to an exploding grenade that also sent shrapnel into his lower right leg. After Doctors told him he wouldn’t be able to play football, he rejoined the Steelers and the rest is history. His service earned him a bronze star and purple heart.
Roger Staubach – “Captain America” won the Heisman Trophy in 1963 as a member of the Naval Academy’s Midshipmen. In 1965, Staubach served a tour of duty in Vietnam where he worked in the Supply Corps office until 1967. He would go on to win two Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys, concoct a Hall of Fame career, and be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2018.