On September 11th, 2001 terrorists attacks shook the foundation of our country and changed life as we know it for everyone. Less than a year later, Arizone Cardinals linebacker Pat Tillman would walk away from millions of dollars to play professional football to serve his country. As we all know, Tillman lost his life in combat.
I was reading an article on Yahoo.com (here is the link: http://www.thepostgame.com/features/201104/seven-years-after-his-death-pat-tillman-more-needed-nfl-brotherhood-ever) and it discussed how in the middle of this lockout the league needs Pat Tillman. Perhaps what it needs is more players with Pat Tillman's mentality. Players have held out, demanded trades or have fought owners over money (or what they should be entitled to) but very seldom do you see a player leave a sport because of strong personal beliefs. Tillman felt he could best be of service by not tackling running backs or sacking quarterbacks but to defend his country. How many of today's players would drop a multi-million dollar contract or even the league minimum to put on the uniform, serve their country and make considerably less than what they are use to making? My guess would be zero. Today's players seem to want to more for themselves regardless if they earn it or not. I can understand both sides of the battle here but honestly, have any of them remembered that it is a game and that given the chance most of us fans would play this game for free? It should be considered a privilege to play a sport professionally. Most of us don't have the luxury of striking or having labor disputes with our respected companies because there are no unions and such.
Players need to remember that there is more to this sport than money. Tillman didn't give it a second thought. He passed up $9 million from the Rams to stay in Arizona so it is no surprise he opted for the Army not too long after 9/11. He understood there are things in this world larger than that of a professional athlete. Maybe if today's players and owners thought the same way perhaps a new CBA can be put in place.
This is just my personal view of the lockout situation and how the league should be more focused on the sport as opposed to the money players and owners make and who is getting the bigger profit. It is my hope that an agreement can be put in place soon and perhaps just maybe it will be a long time before another dispute will take place between the players and the owners. All of them need to be more like Pat Tillman. Go Panthers!!