PHOENIX (KSAZ) -- A friend of late Arizona Cardinals player Pat Tillman has a simple message for those who are invoking the life of Tillman in a controversy surrounding Nike's decision to use former 49ers player Colin Kaepernick in its latest marketing campaign.
Jeremy Staat, a former Defensive End for the ASU Sun Devils Football Team who went on to a career in the NFL and later served in the United States Marine Corp, issued the warning on his unverified Twitter page Tuesday.
In response to Nike. Please do not use Pat Tillman as a ploy for your political views. Pat was not a republican, and with the governments handling of his death and the lies that followed I do believe that Pat would value the players protest against police brutality and equality.— Jeremy Staat (@jeremystaat) September 4, 2018
If you plan to “burn” any and all of your Nike apparel, please don’t. Please donate it to your local veterans organization, so that they may distribute your unwanted Nike gear to homeless Veterans in your area. Thank you.— Jeremy Staat (@jeremystaat) September 4, 2018
The plea came amidst an ongoing controversy surrounding a Nike ad that featured a photo of Kaepernick, along with the words "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything".
Kaepernick has been at the center of controversy surrounding his decision to not stand for the National Anthem during NFL games. That decision sparked protests across the country, and grown into one of the most polarizing issues in sports, with President Donald Trump loudly urging the league to suspend or fire players who demonstrate during the anthem.
Conversely, Amnesty International awarded Kaepernick with that year's Ambassador of Conscience award.