Pat Tillman in the Hall Of Fame...Or Why Mike Florio Is a Moron

jim butterfieldContributor IAugust 6, 2010

LAFAYETTE, CA - MARCH 19:  A photograph of former NFL football player and war veteran Pat Tillman is displayed on a wooden cross at a roadside memorial that features over 5,000 wooden crosses which represent U.S. troops that have been killed in Iraq March 19, 2010 in Lafayette, California. Today marks the seven year anniversary of the U.S. led war in Iraq.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Mike Florio is an idiot. I hesitate to put that link here since it will only give him more attention and encourage him to write another horrible article but enough's enough. I could spend hours picking apart his comments but I'll just get to the most glaring example. Florio argues that Tillman is one of a select few players who should be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and I don't think there could be anything more disrespectful to Tillman and his family.

"Pat Tillman didn't play long enough to merit serious consideration based on his on-field accomplishments. But his career wasn't cut short due to injury or ineptitude. He walked away from millions to join the military, and Tillman made the ultimate sacrifice for his country."

First off, Tillman was never a Hall of Fame talent to begin with. He never made the Pro Bowl nor was ever named All-Pro (Dr. Z named him once in 2000, but again, if players were awarded All-Pros for each individual voter, probably half the league would be All-Pro before their careers were over). So while he was a productive player, there was no possibility of him ever becoming a Hall of Famer if he had not left for the war.

I don't think a hard working man with as much pride as Tillman would accept a bid into the collection of the game's greatest as a consolation prize for his death if he had any say.

Tillman did walk away from millions but did not make the "ultimate sacrifice." He was shot three times in the head by his own troops in an area that had no evidence of enemy fire. His death was subsequently covered up and used by the government to "deflect attention from emerging failings in the Afghan war" (in the words of Pat's brother, Kevin). Tillman never sacrificed his life, it was taken from him and lied about by the people who were supposed to take care of him.

"Under the current rules, Tillman never will be considered for the Hall of Fame, because off-field conduct doesn't count. (More accurately, it's not supposed to count.)"

This is the Professional Football Hall of Fame, not a war memorial. US Soldiers deserve the utmost respect for their service, but not in the form of a plaque in a room full of pictures of guys playing a game. Football is nothing compared to war so it's completely inappropriate to link the two like that.

"The rule needs to change, and the first beneficiary of it should be the man who turned his back on fame and fortune to set an example that should never be forgotten."

Fine, put Pat Tillman in the Professional Football Hall of Fame. Now, can you argue against including any of the players who served in World War II, the Korean War, or Vietnam? The criteria for the Hall of Fame should be what you do on the field, not whether or not you enlist in the army.

And what example did Pat Tillman set? That leaving millions on the table to join the army would work out in the long run? That your superiors will hide the evidence behind your death in order to use you and your family to further their propaganda? No, the Tillman tragedy showed that even the most honorable and dedicated men will get screwed over and exploited for other people's own political gains.

Putting Tillman in the Hall only supports this kind of behavior and perpetuates a lie that will haunt his family for the remainder of their lives. Don't make them suffer anymore than they already have.