The former Green Beret-turned-football long snapper whose conversation with Colin Kaepernick led the quarterback to kneel, instead of sit, during the national anthem in 2016 has another proposal to quell the anthem controversy: Get the president and the former QB in the same room.
Nate Boyer, whose 2016 open letter to Kaepernick in Army Times led to a meeting between the men, wrote to “Trump, Kaepernick, the NFL and America,” in an ESPN.com piece published Friday. Boyer expresses his desire for unity, mentions that his opinions on the protests have led some to call him “a disgrace to the Green Beret,” and says a recent discussion with other veterans came to a surprising conclusion: President Trump and Kaepernick should meet to discuss the issue.
“I know it sounds crazy, but maybe that's exactly what we need to see,” Boyer writes. “Maybe that's how we start to heal. Two men sit in a room and talk, simple as that.”
A University of Texas long snapper who was cut by the Seattle Seahawks before the 2015 season, Boyer met with Kaepernick when the QB reached out after reading the open letter. He stood on the sideline next to a kneeling Kaepernick prior to a 2016 preseason game.
Boyer has been a regular contributor to the national debate on the anthem, which picked up after a Sept. 22 speech in which Trump suggested NFL owners fire any “son of a bitch” player who doesn‘t stand for the song. More than 200 NFL players protested during the anthem during games held Sept. 24.
His initial letter on the subject stressed the need to avoid anger ― ”There are already plenty people fighting fire with fire, and it’s just not helping anyone or anything“ ― and to “keep listening, with an open mind.”
Those themes continue in the recent piece.
“I believe our Veterans will be called upon to lead the way in healing the world and solving its problems; right now our country needs that more than I can remember,” Boyer writes. “So I'll be here, standing in the radical middle, doing what I can to continue fighting for those that can't fight for themselves.”
Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.