Sumrall, MS – National Football League (NFL) Hall of Famer Brett Favre compared Colin Kaepernick to American hero Pat Tillman, who left a cushy spot with the Arizona Cardinals to become an Army Ranger after 9/11 and was killed while serving his country in the mountains of Afghanistan.
Tillman was an NFL defensive back who turned down a $3.6 million contract in 2002 to enlist in the U.S. Army and serve his country after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, according to the Pat Tillman Foundation website.
“At times like this you stop and think about just how good we have it, what kind of system we live in, and the freedoms we are allowed,” the football player said the day after the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.
“A lot of my family has gone and fought in wars and I really haven’t done a damn thing,” he said.
Most of America was shocked when he put his NFL career on hold and joined the military with his brother, Kevin.
The brothers served together in the 75th Ranger Regiment until Tillman was killed by friendly fire during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2004, according to the foundation website.
Kaepernick was a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers when he took a knee to protest police brutality on the field during the National Anthem at the start of the 2016 NFL season.
He quit the 49ers at the end of the season to become a free agent, which was unrelated to his protest.
No NFL team has signed the former professional football player despite his repeated attempts to claim he was being black-balled by the league for protesting.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said at the time.
When he was given the opportunity for a workout with multiple NFL teams on Nov. 16, 2019, he moved the location at the last minute over a dispute with the league about permitting media to attend.
The wide receiver whom he threw to during the November workout was picked up by the Washington Redskins afterwards, but Kaepernick’s showing didn’t generate interest from teams.
Favre, a former Green Bay Packers superstar, told TMZ that he thought Kaepernick would go down in history as a legend for his efforts at combating “systemic racism.”
“I can only think of right off the top of my head, Pat Tillman is another guy that did something similar,” Favre. “And, we regard him as a hero. So, I’d assume that hero status will be stamped with Kaepernick as well.”
Favre also said he thought that Kaepernick could still be effective in the NFL.
“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 told TMZ.
“I thought he was a dynamic player when he was playing in his prime,” Favre continued. “He’s still young and hasn’t been hit in several years, so there’s no reason to think that he’s lost that much of a step.”
Kaepernick, 32, last played football four years ago. In his final two seasons in the NFL, he had a 3-16 record with the San Francisco 49ers.
TMZ reported that Kaepernick has been working out and that the Los Angeles Chargers recently said they would consider giving him a tryout.
Favre played four years in the NFL and threw for 71,838 yards in his career, which is the fourth most in league history.