As the rhetoric from President Trump against football players taking a knee during the National Anthem seeks to discredit them, a common theme utilized by Trump and his supporters directly questions the patriotism of protesting athletes and their respect for fallen soldiers.
But that notion is easily debunked when one learns the history of why NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick ultimately ended up kneeling during the National Anthem rather than taking a seat on the bench like he initially did.
Just before the San Francisco 49ers’ final pre-season game, former Seattle Seahawks team member and Green Beret Nate Boyer reached out to Kaepernick in a letter and shared with a few thoughts how to approach the Anthem. In an upcoming episode of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, Boyer recounts the discussion he had with Kaepernick.
“We sorta came to a middle ground where he would take a knee alongside his teammates,” Boyer says. “Soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother’s grave, you know, to show respect. When we’re on a patrol, you know, and we go into a security halt, we take a knee, and we pull security.”
When asked if Kaepernick was “receptive” to his suggestions, Boyer replied that he was “very receptive,” adding that Kaepernick told him that kneeling would be “really powerful.”
“And … he asked me to do it with him,” Boyer said. “And I said, ‘Look, I’ll stand next to you. I gotta stand though. I gotta stand with my hand on my heart. That’s just– that’s just what I do and where I’m from.'”
Boyer took his share of abuse for choosing to stand next to Kaepernick.
“I got called a lot of things from both sides. I was told I was a disgrace to the green beret by a couple Green Berets, one of them I was friends with. And that hurts, you know? It really does. But then I also had a lot of people in the military and people in special forces that said, ‘Man, I hadn’t really thought about that before. And I think you’re onto something.'”
As CBS Sports‘ Will Brinson points out, the two still had a slight difference in opinion, but it was the dialogue that matters:
There are always going to be people who don’t appreciate what Kap is doing, and there are always going to be people who don’t appreciate Boyer reaching out to him.
But the bottom line is that discussion, in a positive and peaceful fashion, is always better than screaming angrily about a subject matter.
Boyer and Kap might not see eye to eye, but bridging the gap by even speaking about the issues is a pretty good start.
Watch the trailer for Boyer’s interview below:
Featured image via CBS Sports