A day after Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre stated that “hero status will be stamped with” Colin Kaepernick as it was with Pat Tillman, he sent out a tweet on Monday explaining that he wasn’t comparing the two.
He wrote: “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.”
Favre’s comments came after TMZ asked him where Kaepernick stood in sports history after he knelt during the national anthem in the 2016 NFL season to protest police brutality and institutional racism. Favre then spoke about Tillman, who quit football to serve in the US Army in 2002.
“I can only think of — right off the top of my head — Pat Tillman’s another guy who did something similar, and we regard him as a hero,” he said. “So, I’d assume that hero status will be stamped with Kaepernick as well.”
Tillman was killed by friendly fire in 2004, but officials initially claimed it was due to enemy fire and allegedly tried covering it up in conversations with Tillman’s family. It was revealed that Tillman was critical President George W. Bush and began considering the invasion of Iraq “illegal.”
Kaepernick, who was criticized by NFL owners and President Trump for his protests has not been signed to a team since becoming a free agent in 2017.
Kaepernick opted out of his 49ers contract after general manager John Lynch told him that he’d otherwise be released.
He settled a collusion lawsuit with the NFL last February, but has maintained that he still wants to play football. In February, he stated that he would be “ready for a phone call, tryout, [or] workout at any point in time.”
Kaepernick’s protests received renewed attention after George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police officers in June. Global demonstrations ensued, calling attention to the issues Kaepernick was kneeling to protest against. Public opinion has greatly shifted too.