• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Should NFL retire Pat Tillman's uniform number? Petition gains support before Veterans Day

·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

An online petition for the NFL to retire former Arizona Cardinals player Pat Tillman's No. 40 is gaining steam ahead of Veterans Day.

The petition, started at change.org earlier this year, calls on the NFL to retire Tillman's number league-wide.

In May, the petition, which was started by Sean Wilson, surpassed 10,000 signatures.

With Veterans Day on Thursday, it is now approaching 60,000.

Tillman died in a friendly-fire incident in Afghanistan over 17 years ago. He had joined the Army after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Wilson wrote in the petition that it was his goal to see Tillman honored by the NFL with the uniform number retirement as we have passed the 20th anniversary of 9-11.

"It is my goal to have the NFL retire Pat Tillman’s jersey No. 40 league wide to honor Pat Tillman’s ultimate sacrifice he made as a result of 09/11/2001," he wrote. "They say ‘a man is not dead while his name is still spoken.’ It is my hope that for the rest of time, anytime an unknown person enters an NFL stadium, they will see TILLMAN 40 hanging from the rafters and his story will have to be told and his name will continue to be spoken."

The Cardinals have retired Tillman's No. 40, but Wilson would like to see the NFL as a whole retire it.

Tillman also played at Arizona State, where he wore No. 42. ASU's football team has retired that number in his honor.

There is a statue of Tillman on the field at ASU's Sun Devil Stadium (outside of the Pat Tillman Memorial Tunnel) and the Cardinals' State Farm Stadium also has a statue of Tillman at the Pat Tillman Freedom Plaza outside the stadium.

The NFL has never retired a uniform number league-wide.

Would it make sense for Tillman to be the first?

The signers of the petition would obviously answer in the affirmative.

"He is what a true American hero is," one wrote. "He literally gave his life for his country, over a game that would pay him millions. So much respect and love for a man who was gone way to soon."

Added another: "Because heroes should be honored."

"He is an inspiration and example to the sport world, fans and athletes alike," wrote another. "An example of the good that rarely gets the spotlight."

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Pat Tillman uniform number should be retired by NFL, petition says