San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick invited former Army Green Beret Nate Boyer to his team’s Thursday night preseason game against the San Diego Chargers. You may remember Boyer as the veteran who decided to become a long snapper and walked on to the University of Texas football team with no previous playing experience. After a successful college career, he signed with the Seattle Seahawks as a free agent and briefly played with the team in 2015.
And you certainly remember Kaepernick from the social media firestorm he created after refusing to stand for the national anthem at last Friday’s preseason game against the Green Bay Packers.
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
Boyer wrote an opinion piece for Military Times this week where he talked about his conflicting emotions when he saw Kaepernick’s protest at lats week’s game. He met Kaepernick and 49ers safety Eric Reid in San Diego and the three men talked for 90 minutes before the game.
When the anthem played before the game, the two players took a knee instead of sitting.
“We were talking to him about how can we get the message back on track and not take away from the military, not take away from pride in our country but keep the focus on what the issues really are,” Kaepernick said after the game. “As we talked about it, we came up with taking a knee because there are issues that still need to be addressed and there was also a way to show more respect for the men and women that fight for this country.”
As reported by ESPN, the quarterback kept explaining himself.
“Once again, I’m not anti-American. I love America. I love people. That’s why I’m doing this. I want to help make America better. I think having these conversations helps everybody have a better understanding of where everybody is coming from.
“Those conversations are important to have because the better we understand each other, the better we know each other, the better we can deal and communicate with each other which ultimately makes everyone, puts everybody in a better position.”
The suits in the NFL corporate office probably wish that Kaepernick would just go away, but his performance in last night’s game (a touchdown on the game’s opening possession and 11-of-18 passing for 103 yards with four carries for 38 yards) pretty much insures his role as the team’s backup QB and a continuing discussion of his anthem antics going into the regular season.
Have at it: did Nate Boyer’s suggestion help make Kaepernick’s intentions clear? If you were offended by a player who sat during the national anthem, how do you feel about one who kneels. Sound off!