Donald Trump is standing by with what he said about NFL players taking a knee, and he even used a photo of a dead former National Football League player to prove his point. Trump reiterated that athletes who do not stand up should be condoned for disrespecting the national anthem and the United States.
In his latest Twitter barrage, Trump re-tweeted a photo of Pat Tillman posted first by Twitter user @jayMAGA45. The tweet mentioned that Tillman joined the United States Army in 2002 and was killed in action in 2004. It also used the hashtag #StandForOurAnthem and #BoycottNFL.
The tweet, which was posted on September 25, also said that the late Tillman “fought for our country and freedom.” Ironically, Tillman was killed by friendly fire.
Tillman, a former NFL defensive back for the Arizona Cardinals, refused to re-sign with his team and instead chose to enlist in the U.S. Army months after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Tillman was serving in Afghanistan when he was killed.
Any of three Army Rangers are suspected of firing the shots that killed the Army corporal. One of those Rangers, Steven Elliott, has been haunted by the tragedy since. It was never determined who actually killed Tillman but Elliott “can’t shake the fact that he might be at fault.”
Tillman was part of a group ambushed by the enemy. As they returned fire, Elliott’s group, which alighted from a truck, misinterpreted the shots as coming from the enemy.
Elliott and two other soldiers from his group shot at the “shadowy figures” they thought were the enemy. In doing so, Tillman and an Afghan contractor were killed. Tillman’s death was even made more controversial when the military apparently tried to cover up the truth.
Trump also retweeted a call to boycott the NFL as well as a photo of an American soldier who lost both his legs, which says “I wonder what this brave American would give to stand on his own two legs just once more for our anthem?”
A number of Twitter users immediately blasted Trump and questioned the original source of the tweet, which may have used the image of the soldier without prior consent.
One commenter named the soldier as Marine Staff Sergeant John Jones. The commenter, who went by D. Wahrheit, said, “How about you ask him before you co-opt his photo for your propaganda?” Another person who identified SSgt. Jones wrote, “shame to sully his reputation to make cheap points.”
Another Trump tweet said that “sports fans should never condone players that do not stand proud for their National Anthem or their Country.” Trump also called for the NFL to change its policy.
Trump also tweeted about how proud he is of NASCAR, as well as its supporters and fans, for not putting up “with disrespecting our Country and our Flag.” Trump’s tweet follows reports that NASCAR owners have thrown their support for Trump in his call to fire protesters under their employ. Controversial ESPN host Jemele Hill, who previously labeled Trump a white supremacist, called out NASCAR for allowing Confederate flags at their races.
Trump also claimed that fans booed the “small percentage” of NFL players who took a knee during the national anthem.
[Featured Image by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images]