Nate Boyer is standing with Colin Kaepernick. Or better yet, he’s standing next to him. At least that’s what Boyer did Thursday night before San Francisco’s 31-21 preseason win in San Diego.
A former United States Army Green Beret, Boyer, who last year made the Seahawks’ training camp as a long snapper, met with Kaepernick before the game to discuss the quarterback’s social activism. Kaepernick, who is protesting the treatment of racial minorities, was refusing to stand and acknowledge the national anthem before games.
He and Boyer spoke for roughly 90 minutes Thursday afternoon.
“It was a very organic conversation,” the 35-year-old Boyer said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “We just sat there and we laughed about stuff. In those situations, when something is such a heavy topic, sometimes you got to kind of laugh at the whole situation and some of the reactions.”
While many people have supported Kaepernick exercising his first-amendment right, many others have criticized him – harshly. He’s been called anything from spoiled to entitled to uninformed to privileged. Some people have even told him to leave the country.
Kaepernick, perhaps fearing that his message was getting lost in his protest, asked Boyer for advice.
“He was open to everything,” Boyer said. “He was very engaged. This wasn’t, ‘Oh, let’s bring this guy down so I can show that I have a veteran puppet next to me supporting me.’ I was kind of leery of that at first, but that’s not what it was at all.”
Boyer suggested that Kaepernick, instead of sitting, should take a knee during the national anthem.
“He’s still protesting something that he believes strongly about,” Boyer explained, “but at the same time, (he’s) making sure to pay respects to those that he does respect – like the good police officers out there and veterans and stuff like that.”
While many people will still be offended by Kaepernick’s protest – or refuse to acknowledge his cause – Boyer told the 28-year-old to remain strong in the face of adversity and, in some cases, hatred.
“It’s not going to be easy, but you got to stick to your guns,” Boyer said, explaining his conversation with Kaepernick. “If you really do believe it, you got to make something actionable and further steps need to be taken. You’ve got people’s attention now. What next? I’m there for you.”