Former Green Beret Who Inspired Kaepernick’s Infamous Kneel Sets the Record Straight
By Debbie Gregory.
San Francisco 49ers’ superfan and former Green Beret Nate Boyer was the one who advised Colin Kaepernick on how best to protest racial inequality.
Disappointed by the former quarterback’s decision to sit during “The Star-Spangled Banner” before an NFL exhibition game in 2016, Boyer got the opportunity to meet face-to-face with Kaepernick after the former penned an open letter to the NFL star in the Army Times.
Kaepernick and his teammate, Eric Reid, met with Boyer in San Diego. Boyer explained to Kaepernick that veterans might feel “you don’t have their perspective and their understanding, just like they don’t have yours.”
Kaepernick asked Boyer if there was another way he could protest. Boyer told him to kneel, rather than sit.
That next game, Kaepernick knelt during the anthem, with Boyer alongside him on the sideline.
Boyer doesn’t believe that he told Kaepernick what to do, rather he offered an alternative.
“What I did was meet with him, make suggestions on different ways to do it after he was already protesting,” said Boyer. “And worked with him to kind of come to a middle ground.”
“He’s not protesting the national anthem. It has become an anthem debate, but that’s not what the protest is about. It’s about racial inequality, police brutality.”
Whether people agree or disagree, Boyer wishes the message hadn’t been intercepted.
“It’s not fair to Colin, it’s not fair to me, and it’s not fair to the cause,” he said. “And it’s not good for our country.”
Boyer is involved with a number of charitable causes, including MVP: Merging Vets and Players and Waterboys, L.A.Ram’s Chris Long’s foundation that provides clean well water to East African communities.
Boyer is also working in the film industry, with a special emphasis on telling the stories of veterans.