A Super Bowl segment portrayed former NFL player Pat Tillman as a hero for joining the military, but Twitter users pointed out that his life story was a little more complicated.
“Tell the real story about Tillman or get this off the screen,” one user tweeted.
“wow this Pat Tillman Army ad is especially stomach turning,” another wrote.
Four Pat Tillman Foundation scholars served as honorary coin toss captains ahead of the big game on Sunday. Tillman, who played safety for the Arizona Cardinals, left his NFL career behind to enlist in the military in 2002, just months after 9/11.
The segment introduced Tillman as a man who died “in the line of duty,” portraying him as a hero for giving his life to serve his country.
It did not, however, mention that Tillman was killed by friendly fire shortly after telling a friend that the invasion of Iraq was “so fucking illegal.” Tillman had also planned to meet with anti–Vietnam War activist Noam Chomsky but died before he could.
Many of the tweets pointed out a lack of information from the NFL segment and encouraged viewers to do their own research about Tillman.
The Army initially announced after Tillman’s death that Afghan combats had killed him, despite officials knowing it was untrue. It took nearly five weeks for officials to alert his family that he’d been killed by fellow soldiers.
“It's still wild the military-football complex chooses to draw attention to Pat Tillman. How many people tonight read his wiki for the first time,” a user tweeted.