Morgan Wallen Morgan Wallen performs during his new album release show “One Thing At A Time’ at Bridgestone Arena on Friday, March 3, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. Nas Nas Morgan Wallen Concert 007

While Morgan Wallen is popular in the world of country music, the 30-year-old singer and songwriter has been an often controversial figure, with his use of racial slurs being caught on video in recent years. Despite that, Wallen has become more popular than ever and is one of the central faces of modern-day country music.

Performing in front of a sold-out crowd at Chase Field—home of the Arizona Diamondbacks—in Phoenix, Arizona, earlier this week, Wallen paid tribute to the legendary Pat Tillman by wearing his famous No. 40 jersey as he performed on stage.

Since his untimely death, Tillman, a former Arizona Cardinals football player, has emerged as an icon for many, including Wallen. Tillman left his professional sports career to enlist in the United States Army in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. And because of that, many revere his image, as he turned down a contract offer of $3.6 million over three years, to serve his country.

Tillman’s service to his country and the nature surrounding his death in the mountains of Afghanistan have received national attention. Tillman tragically lost his life after serving several combat tours. At first, the Army reported that Tillman had been killed by enemy fire. A month later, the Pentagon notified the Tillman family that his death came after he was the victim of friendly fire in Afghanistan and he ultimately became the subject of a subsequent government coverup as a result.

He has since been hailed as an American hero by many in the NFL community as a result of his decision to leave the NFL for the military. And with that, many of those on social media had plenty to say about the country music superstar’s decision to honor Tillman.

Tillman’s widow has often criticized the use of her late husband’s image being “politicized.” Wallen was obviously trying to honor the late Tillman, but the presence of mind to wear the jersey alone, considering the circumstances of his death, has earned him a lot of criticism from those on social media.

[John Gambadoro]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.