Trump and Pence have decided to ignite culture wars about the NFL and the choice of some players to kneel during the National Anthem. Those who agree with Trump’s myopic and bombastic view that players who kneel are SOBs who should be fired need to stop and look closer. This quiet gesture isn’t about the anthem or disrespecting the country or military. It’s about wanting freedom and justice for all in a country where police brutality targets minorities unfairly. What’s more, the origins of the “Take a Knee” protest began at the urging of a U.S. Veteran, as a way to find middle-ground.
Snopes has ruled it true that U.S. Army veteran Nate Boyer is the one who convinced Colin Kaepernick to kneel instead of sitting down on the bench.
NFL players Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid started the protest in August 2016 when they simply sat on the bench during the National Anthem, “furious, hurt and hopeless” following the killing of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Nate Boyer’s initial response, like many Trump supporters, was anger with Kaepernick.
“I’ll be completely honest. My initial response was anger. I was angry and disappointed because I grew up a 9er fan and I was pulling for this guy, and now he just pissed on my flag,” said Boyer in an interview. “But then I just stopped making all these judgments and tried to listen to what he’s talking about.”
Boyer wrote a letter about his opinion of Kaepernick’s protest, and Kaepernick contacted Boyer, wanting to sit down and discuss where he was coming from. Boyer convinced the protester to kneel as a show of respect, as those in the military would kneel in front of a fallen soldier’s grave. Boyer also saw that Kaepernick was right about correcting the injustices people of color face at the hands of the police.
It’s more upsetting for the veteran to see how divided the country is over the issue rather than listening to each other and coming together. Unfortunately, Trump seems to want to drive a cultural wedge, not unite the United States.
Boyer spoke about what he thought of Trump’s NFL stance:
“Mr. President. Let’s be presidential now and reach across to people you don’t agree with and you think are wrong and say, ‘You know what, let me hear you out,” said Boyer.
Colin Kaepernick, Nate Boyer, and all those who protest are not trying to divide the country. They are actually protesting because we are not more united together. For American democracy to work, it means that we must uphold the rights and fair treatment of all Americans. When our President willfully fails to do that, it’s time for us all to take a knee.
See Nate Boyer and Colin Kaepernick below:
Feature image: Screenshot via YouTube