What started off as a simple request by the Army Times for Nate Boyer to write an opinion piece about a certain seated quarterback has catapulted the former green beret into the national spotlight. The veteran, who had a workout with the 49ers prior to spending the 2015 preseason with the Seahawks, has helped transform what had a been a controversial move by San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick into a movement that is making its way through the sports world.
Boyer, who was not interested in writing an opinion piece, decided to write an open letter to the quarterback. He wrote what he would say if he were in a room with Kaepernick for five minutes, face to face, and it came from the heart. What happened next took even the the always prepared Boyer a little by surprise.
What he had thought would only be read by a few people, somehow ended up being circulated all over social media and on every news outlet, quickly sparking interest from Kaepernick for a meeting.
I think because it was just genuine. It wasn’t articulately written with big words and I didn’t try to sound political or anything like that. I was just speaking from the heart and it was just a stream of consciousness. I wrote the thing in an hour and a half, real quick, and I think that’s why, because it was genuine. It was who I am, and where I’m at in trying to understand, clear and simple. No one’s got the balls to do that kind of stuff anymore. Everyone’s so worried about perceptions, and who’s going to like them and who doesn’t and being right and wrong. It’s not helping anything.
As most now know, Kaepernick sent a car to drive Boyer to San Diego where they were joined by Eric Reid for a 90 minute meeting in the hotel lobby prior to the 4th preseason game. Reid, who had multiple conversations with Kaepernick throughout the week, wanted to make sure the message they were trying to convey was not lost in the controversy of the actions. Boyer had the same goal, and the compromise was kneeling for the National Anthem, an action that would keep Kaepernick and Reid amongst their teammates instead of isolated on the bench.
The concern of the three men in that hotel lobby was valid. Much of the attention of the media has been focused on the gesture and the negative connotations that it could convey. It took Boyer slowing himself down to reach the point where he is now, understanding of the purpose of Kaepernick’s actions, and all he can do is talk to people about taking the same steps.
Boyer’s actions have not come without some heat from both sides of the spectrum. Some critics have said that they don’t believe that it’s any better for a person to kneel during the anthem than sit. Boyer, however sees it as a compromise, offering respect to the flag and to those who have fought to preserve the freedom that it stands for. It’s the beginning of a what will be a journey for all of the parties involved.
Stay tuned for part two of my interview with Nate Boyer - what’s next for the the former Green Beret working with Colin Kaepernick