A biographer who profiled Pat Tillman says the U.S. soldier and former NFL star, who was killed by friendly fire in Iraq in 2004, would have found NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's protests against police brutality "admirable" and likely would have joined the demonstrations.
Jon Krakauer told The Washington Post that Republicans — such as Rep. Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinGovernors brace for 2022 after year in pandemic spotlight Republicans hit Biden over Afghanistan, with eye on midterms McCarthy: 'There will be a day of reckoning' for Biden MORE (N.Y.) — who have used Tillman's sacrifice to attack Nike's selection of Kaepernick as the face of the company's "Just Do It" campaign have an inaccurate view of Tillman's politics.
"Pat would have found Kaepernick an extremely admirable person for what he believed in,” Krakauer told the Post.
“I have no doubt if he was in the NFL today, he would be the first to kneel," he added. "So there is irony about what is going on.”
Krakauer's comments came after Zeldin said Tillman would have been a "better choice" to headline Nike's campaign.
The New York lawmaker and other Republicans pointed to Tillman as an example of an American who had truly sacrificed everything, a shot at Nike and Kaepernick for the ad's slogan, which hints at the career sacrifices Kaepernick has endured following his protests during the national anthem.
Kaepernick's protests inspired dozens of other players to also take a knee during the national anthem's performance before games, an issue that drove the league into confrontation with President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE last year.
Trump and other Republicans have called on the league to punish the players who have participated in the protests against police brutality and racism, calling the demonstrations an attack on the military or service members.