Boyer, a former Green Beret, convinced Kaepernick to kneel instead of sit for the anthem last season
Nate Boyer, a former U.S. Army Green Beret who spent the 2015 preseason as a long snapper for the Seahawks, last year convinced Colin Kaepernick to kneel instead of sit for the national anthem. In October, Boyer , as told to ESPN.com's Nick Wagoner, to President Donald Trump, Kaepernick, the NFL and the nation.
TheMMQB.com's Tim Rohan recently asked Boyer about Trump's rhetoric on the anthem protests, which thrust the issue back into the headlines.
Boyer acknowledged that Trump was "playing to the base in that moment," but also suggested that in order to address these issues, opponents can't talk at each other but need to talk to each other.
"But if you really want to see change, you have to embrace that other side, too," Boyer said. "You have to understand that their experiences shape their opinions and shape who they are and what they believe. It's as simple as that. ... Until these people in high places and these people who are leading movements, until they are willing to not only say, 'I appreciate your opinion,' but also show action, sit down and have these conversations and work together so that everybody feels like they're part of the conversation and the change and the action and the polices going forward. Until that happens, we're going to continue to be divided."
Boyer says he hasn't spoken to Kaepernick recently but thinks the quarterback shouldn't be focusing on returning to the NFL but instead on trying to "unify us as a country."
"And a lot of people in the veteran community, believe it or not, would agree with me," Boyer said. "I did a roundtable recently with some other veterans, friends of mine. A lot of these guys were really conservative. The flag and the anthem are very special to them, sacred to them. By the end of this discussion, we all agreed. One of the other guys actually suggested that Colin should be the one bringing us back together and unifying us. How amazing is that, that these people are saying that?"
And how does that happen? It would include Kaepernick and Trump sitting down together.
"We need to see people having conversations who disagree with each other," Boyer explained. "President Trump and Colin Kaepernick -- if they sat down in a room and have a civil conversation, it'd be a very different one from what we're seeing on social media and in the mainstream media. It'd be something that, I think, would calm down a lot of people in the country, if they were willing to sit down and have a grown-up conversation."