Fans of the late Pat Tillman criticized Nike’s choice of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the face of the company’s 30th anniversary “Just Do It” ad campaign, The Arizona Republic reported.
The ad, which was released Monday, features a close-up, black-and-white image of Kaepernick with the slogan, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Tillman, the former Arizona Cardinals football player and Army Ranger, was killed in Afghanistan by friendly fire in 2004. Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016, saying he was drawing attention to racial inequality.
While many people on social media lauded the choice of Kapernick, others were just as vigorously opposed, the Republic reported.
Pat Tillman was a NFL football player that quit the NFL to join the army after 9/11. In 2004 he died in Afghanistan due to friendly fire. pic.twitter.com/qUbOYn7R87— KEEM 🍿 (@KEEMSTAR) September 4, 2018
“Just putting it out there that Pat Tillman sacrificed just a *bit more than Colin Kaepernick,” commentator Stephen Miller of Fox News tweeted.
Just putting it out there that Pat Tillman sacrificed just a *bit more than Colin Kaepernick.— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) September 3, 2018
Others suggested that Tillman would have supported the players’ right to protest before games. Meanwhile, other posters criticized using Tillman to politicize the issue.
Pat Tillman, who I met and profiled, was smart, thoughtful and principled, with zero tolerance for b.s. It's sickening that anyone would weaponize his name for low-rent trolling, when PT isn't here to speak for himself. https://t.co/wbHWRC0kPV— Tim Layden (@SITimLayden) September 4, 2018
Tillman’s widow, Marie Tillman, released a statement last year saying her husband's service "should never be politicized in a way that divides us," the Republic reported.
Tillman’s family has not commented on the Nike campaign, the newspaper reported.