An open letter written by former Texas Longhorns deep snapper and Green Beret Nate Boyer resulted in an invitation from San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to discuss his controversial protest against racial oppression by declining to stand for the national anthem.
“Even though my initial reaction to your protest was one of anger, I’m trying to listen to what you’re saying and why you’re doing it,” Boyer wrote earlier this week. “When I told my mom about this article, she cautioned me that ‘the last thing our country needed right now was more hate.’ As usual, she’s right.
“There are already plenty people fighting fire with fire, and it’s just not helping anyone or anything. So I’m just going to keep listening, with an open mind. I look forward to the day you’re inspired to once again stand during our national anthem. I’ll be standing right there next to you. Keep on trying … De Oppresso Liber.”
The letter clearly reached Kaepernick, and so on Thursday the two met before Boyer stood on the sidelines beside Kaepernick during the national anthem prior to the preseason game between the 49ers and San Diego Chargers.
Thanks for the invite brother... Good talk. Let's just keep moving forward. This is what America should be all about pic.twitter.com/LgjPpjk173— Nate Boyer (@NateBoyer37) September 2, 2016
Boyer was standing next to Kaepernick in the black shirt during anthem as he knelt. pic.twitter.com/lFclznvYLo— Alex Flanagan (@Alex_Flanagan) September 2, 2016
Kaepernick wasn’t able to stand beside Boyer as the the former Longhorn desired, but the two did have a productive conversation, according to the decorated veteran.
"He said he wanted me to come down and listen to what I had to say," Boyer told NFL Network’s Alex Flanagan. "He kind of asked for advice on certain things and that meant a lot. And he was very adamant about the fact that 'I don't want to offend the troops, I would just like to see change in our country as far as racial oppression.'
"I told him when he asked me what I thought about it -- that I'd like to see him stand ... and Kap said, 'I also want to stand for the anthem and I think I will sometime but right now I don't feel inspired to do that.'"
One thing that stands in stark relief following the exchange is this — Kaepernick may not be inspired right now, but the only way to accomplish that is by working together to understand and support each other.