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Former Green Beret Sets the Record Straight

Former Green Beret Who Inspired Kaepernick’s Infamous Kneel Sets the Record Straight

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.

 

NFL To Honor Veterans During Super Bowl

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By Debbie Gregory.

Although the National Football League (NFL) has taken some heat for the #PleaseStand controversy, the league has announced plans to honor veterans during Super Bowl LII.

The brouhaha began when the NFL rejected an ad for the Super Bowl program from AMVETS  that featured the American flag, saluting soldiers and the words “Please Stand,” urging players and fans to stand during the national anthem. The ad was in direct opposition to the movement of NFL players protesting racial inequality and injustice by kneeling during the performance of the National Anthem before the start of games.

NFL Vice President of Communications Brian McCarthy said the programs should not be used for political messaging. AMVETS declined the opportunity to amend their ad.

Controversy aside, the participation of 15 Medal of Honor (MoH) recipients from WWII, Vietnam and Afghanistan may be one of best parts of the Super Bowl.

WWII Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams, 94, will flip the coin that gives the winning captain the opportunity to elect to kick off or receive. Williams will be surrounded by fellow MoH recipients from the Vietnam War: Bennie Adkins, Army; Don Ballard, Navy; Sammy Davis, Army; Roger Donlon, Army; Tom Kelley, Navy; Allan Kellogg, Marines; Gary Littrell, Army; Walter Marm, Army; Robert Patterson, Army; and James Taylor, Army.

MoH recipients from Afghanistan who will be participating are: Sal Giunta, Army; Flo Groberg, Army; Leroy Petry, Army; and Clint Romesha, Army.

“These courageous individuals deserve to be recognized on America’s biggest stage,” said Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner.

The NFL’s military appreciation initiative “Salute to Service” has been running all season. The league also partners with military nonprofits Pat Tillman Foundation, TAPS, USO, and Wounded Warrior Project.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

NFL Rejects “Please Stand” Ad

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By Debbie Gregory.

The NFL rejected a one-page ad for the NFL’s Super Bowl program submitted by AMVETS with the message “Please Stand,” for being too political. According to AMVETS, the league is guilty of corporate censorship.

“The Super Bowl game program is designed for fans to commemorate and celebrate the game, players, teams and the Super Bowl,: said NFL Vice President of Communications Brian McCarthy. “It’s never been a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement.”

AMVETS full-page ad pictured the American flag, saluting soldiers and the words “Please Stand,” referring to the movement of NFL players protesting racial inequality and injustice by kneeling during the performance of the National Anthem before the start of games.

“The Super Bowl game program is designed for fans to commemorate and celebrate the game, players, teams and the Super Bowl,” according to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy.

“The NFL has long supported the military and veterans and will again salute our servicemembers in the Super Bowl with memorable on-field moments that will be televised as part of the game,” said McCarthy.

McCarthy said a VFW ad for the Super Bowl program was submitted and later approved for a tagline that read: “We Stand for Veterans” with text describing benefits the organization offers. The league, which has editorial control over the content, gave AMVETS the opportunity to amend their ad, using phrases such as “Please Honor Our Veterans” or “Please Stand for Our Veterans.”

AMVETS national commander, Marion Polk, wrote to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, saying: “Freedom of speech works both ways. We respect the rights of those who choose to protest as these rights are precisely what our members have fought — and in many cases died — for. But imposing corporate censorship to deny that same right to those veterans who have secured it for us all is reprehensible and totally beyond the pale.”

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Widow of Pat Tillman Unhappy Trump Used Her Husband in NFL Debate

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As the “Take a Knee” debate continues on, Marie Tillman, the widow of NFL star and Army Ranger Pat Tillman, has asked that her husband not be used for political gain.

Most people know that Pat Tillman gave up his NFL Arizona Cardinals contract to serve the United States in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, but was killed in a friendly fire incident in 2004.

President Trump recently tweeted a photograph of Tillman accompanied by the hashtags #StandForOurAnthem and #BoycottNFL, a move that forced Marie Tillman to make the following statement:

“Pat’s service, along with that of every man and woman’s service, should never be politicized in a way that divides us. We are too great of a country for that.”

The Take a Knee movement was started by quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the National Anthem before a pre-season game for the San Francisco 49ers in 2016.

Kaepernick had said: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.

The president has been very vocal regarding his criticisms of NFL players taking a knee, and of the NFL owners’ tolerance of the gesture.

“The very action of self expression and the freedom to speak from one’s heart — no matter those views — is what Pat and so many other Americans have given their lives for,” Marie Tillman said. “Even if they didn’t always agree with those views.”

Team owners, even some who have supported Trump’s campaign, showed solidarity with their players.

“As a football player and soldier, Pat inspired countless Americans to unify,” Marie said. “It is my hope that his memory should always remind people that we must come together.”

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Running Back Soldier Trying to Return To Football

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By Debbie Gregory.

Glen Coffee was a third-round pick in 2009. But after just one year in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers, he abruptly retired.

“I was doing what the world expected me to do,” Coffee said.  “What my mom expected me to do and what my friends expected me to do.  All I had known was football.  My whole schedule was built around football.”

His rookie season Coffee battled it out on the gridiron. But it was nothing compared to the battle going on inside. So to ease his mind he threw himself into the lavish lifestyle of a pro athlete.

“So I got the money and I started to splurge just a little bit to try to catch a feeling, to find some happiness. I know money didn’t buy happiness but I was going to try to find something. There had to be a reason everybody’s chasing money. I could never find it. I’d buy this or get this, or have this, and it didn’t mean anything.”

In his lone season as a pro football player, Coffee put up decent numbers as a backup for Frank Gore. He ran for 226 yards on 83 carries, and added 76 receiving yards over 11 receptions. He found the end zone once.

Fast-forward seven years; after serving for the last four years with the Sixth Battalion of the Army Rangers, Coffee has filed for reinstatement. He is trying to make an unprecedented and unlikely comeback.

Now, out of the Army, Coffee wants to see if he can play football again. After he came out of retirement on April 21, the 49ers promptly waived their rights to his contract, making the soon-to-be 30-year-old a free agent. With a running back-rich NFL draft, it remains to be seen how much interest Coffee will garner on the free-agent market.

One advantage he may have? Serving in the Army has resulted in Coffee being in better shape than when he played football.

“My cardio and endurance is definitely a lot better right now,” he said. “Because in football, you’re not really in shape. People think you’re in shape, but you’re really not. Not like that.”

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.