PHOENIX - Friends of former NFL player and Army Ranger Pat Tillman are criticizing attempts to tie him into the controversy over Nike's new ad campaign.
The ad features Colin Kaepernick with a caption that reads "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything."
Pictures substituting Kaepernick's picture for Tillman's are circulating around the Internet.
But Tillman's friends and former teammates say Tillman would not want to be associated with criticizing the ad, and are asking people to remember that Tillman's widow asked that her husband's death not be politicized.
Tillman's ASU teammate Jeremy Staat wrote on Twitter, "Please do not use Pat Tillman as a ploy for your political views. Pat was not a Republican, and with the government's handling of his death and the lies that followed, I do believe that Pat would value the players protest against police brutality and equality."
Another teammate, Juan Roque, was more forceful on Facebook, writing: "STOP USING OUR FALLEN TEAMMATE’S PICTURE TO DEMEAN THE NIKE KAEPERNICK AD!!!! If Pat were alive he’d cuss you out for it."
The Tillman family has not commented about the renewed controversy. However, in 2017, Marie Tillman issued a statement asking people not to use Tillman's death as "a way to divide us."
Tillman left the NFL after 9/11 to join the Army. He was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004.