ESPN's Johnette Howard writes an article discussing the merits or lack thereof regarding the movement to put former Cardinals safety Pat Tillman in the Hall of Fame. Tillman famously quit professional football to join the military and was killed in Afghanistan in 2004.
The last thing Tillman's story needs is another phony narrative about his life. A story such as his should need no embellishing. He enlisted because he wanted to help fight Osama bin Laden and terrorism. He was a hero, pure and simple, a millionaire athlete and deeply philosophical man who left the high school sweetheart he had just married and gave up his ascending NFL career at age 25 to become an elite Army Ranger shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001.
I am pretty firmly in Howard's camp on this one. The Hall of Fame for players is about what they do on the field. That is why Lawrence Taylor is in despite his off field issues. Tillman's sacrifice was far more than most would be willing to make. A lot of football players take part in humanitarian gestures, though. There have been other NFL players who have been part of the military. Adding Tillman to the Hall of Fame could not make him stand taller than his noble actions in life did.