Our friends at CFT have posted an excellent Memorial Day reminder in honor of the many college-age men and women who have given their lives in the name of our freedom. But as we pound out the final few features for inclusion in our first (and as far I’m concerned last, so it’ll be a collector’s item, sort of) season preview magazine, we came across the name of someone who sacrificed a lucrative career to serve — and who then made the ultimate sacrifice.
The debate regarding the question of whether off-field misconduct should close the door to the Hall of Fame necessarily opens the door to the question of whether players without the credentials to make it to Canton should be considered based on positive off-field contributions. And the guy at the top of that list would be Pat Tillman.
So, yes, we believe that off-field conduct should matter — and it should both hurt a guy and help a guy.
NBC’s Cris Collinsworth first raised the argument that Tillman should be in Canton during a Falcons-Cardinals playoff game in early 2009. “Maybe that’s the better way to get the powers-that-be to change the
rules,” we said at the time. “It would be very nice to keep the turds out; it would be much
better to let the truly good and honorable men in, even if their careers
ended early because they realized that the world is a far bigger place
than 120 by 53 yards of grass.”
Though Tillman may never get to Canton, he never should be forgotten by football fans. Let’s all commit to keeping his name and memory alive, not only on Memorial Day but whenever we’re considering the people who made truly significant contributions to the game by making truly significant contributions beyond it.