For a second time, San Francisco 49er player Colin Kaepernick opted not to stand during the national anthem Thursday as the home team San Diego Chargers celebrated “Salute to the Military” night, but the difference was he did not sit this time, taking a knee instead.
…and that’s because of the influence of Green Beret veteran Nate Boyer.
After multiple war-zone deployments, Boyer was signed as a free agent by the Seattle Seahawks before the 2015 season. The 34-year-old rookie did not make the team’s final roster that year.
His venture with Kaepernick began with an open letter commenting on the player’s decision to sit during the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner” — the $126 million quarterback is protesting racial oppression — resulting in an invitation from Kaepernick to meet with him before Thursday’s game.
“He sent a car to drive me down. And before our meeting started, the very first thing he did was thank me for my service,” Boyer told Independent Journal Review. “In our hour and a half meeting, we talked about everything. I told him how his choice to not stand has affected the veteran community. But I also took the time to listen to him.”
“I suggested that maybe there’s a way to find some middle ground so what he did doesn’t seem so offensive to veterans,” he continued. “To help paint a clearer picture, I showed him some of the texts some people sent me about how they were really upset about it.”
Boyd said that the two came to an agreement that Kaepernick would not sit during the anthem.
“We came to compromise about him taking a knee,” he said. “Kaepernick also asked me to take a knee. But I put my hand over my heart and sing the words, that’s what I do, so I declined.”
The vet added that he agreed to stand beside Kaepernick “to show America that he was and is willing to listen.”
— HawksBum (@HawksBum) September 3, 2016
While he does not agree with the player’s gesture, Boyd said he is encouraged by his “willingness to compromise.”
But he still held out hope that Kaepernick might choose to do the right thing.
“I was hoping he would stand up,” Boyd said. “But you know what I thought, this is a perfect snapshot of America.
“Right now, we are very divided. But the fact that we were willing to be side-by-side in the moment and have that conversation, that’s the first step to actually getting somewhere.”
Thanks for the invite brother… Good talk. Let's just keep moving forward. This is what America should be all about pic.twitter.com/LgjPpjk173
— Nate Boyer (@NateBoyer37) September 2, 2016
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