Nate Boyer remembers how he felt when he found out that Colin Kaepernick had decided to sit in protest during the national anthem. But after getting over his initial feelings of hurt and anger, the Green Beret and former long snapper decided that an open letter to the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback was the right course of action. And after that letter spawned a conversation with Kaepernick and eventually moved Kaepernick to take a more respectful knee, Boyer finds himself once again returning to the debate over a protest that no longer includes just Kaepernick, but has managed to ensnare the entire NFL.
After penning a second open letter, Boyer also sat down with a group of special operations veterans in search of a solution over the ongoing protests as he looks to bring the country back together. The 36-year-old shared his insights after that meeting on the latest episode of The Jim Rome Podcast.
“Most of these guys are pretty conservative to be honest. But they’re very open-minded,” Boyer said of the veterans in attendance. “They’ve all been deployed. They’ve all done things as people in the special operations community—Marines, Navy Seals, and myself.”
While there were plenty of diverse opinions in that room, the room came to a conclusion that surprised Boyer.
“What we fully agreed on was that Colin, believe it or not, Colin should be the one sort of trying to unify our country and bring us back together,” Boyer said.
That wasn’t the conclusion that Boyer expected. But as he talks to more and more veterans, he’s more convinced that Kaepernick’s role in this will continue to be important, even if he never gets back on the football field.
“They said, ‘Look, I don’t agree with him, but he’s obviously got a big following. He’s a powerful figure in this movement, and if he really wants to, he can make a difference,’” Boyer said. “I mean that’s where we are hurting the most as a country. This divide, This divisiveness. But he could be a part of really bringing us back together, if he continues to embrace the other side and listen.”
In a perfect world, Kaepernick would be sitting across the table from President Trump. But Boyer doesn’t see that happening in the near future.
“We talked about this dream meeting we have with him sitting down with President Trump and just having a civil conversation for everybody in the world to see,” Boyer said. “Which is probably not going to happen, but man I think that would be incredible just for all of us as human beings. The other 300 million in our country that need to see those type of things, and kind of believe in our country, once again, in this hope of what we are capable of, and this unity that were supposed to be all about.”
Boyer’s spent the better part of his adult life giving back to his country. And the lessons he learned as a Green Beret are lessons that he carries forward as he seeks out what’s next for him.
“I mean they call it the United States for a reason. I don’t think it’s just talking about the pieces of land, it’s talking about the people,” Boyer said. “So that was a really interesting distinction. And that was something that came out of that conversation, out of that round table that really kind of blew my mind.
“I was proud to see my service members say those things. And I truly believe—I may believe it even more—that I think the veteran community is going to be the one that brings this country back together.
“Eventually, it’s going to be us. We do it overseas, so why not here?”
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