Former Green Beret Nate Boyer revealed how Eric Reid led Colin Kaepernick to take a knee rather than sitting during the national anthem. The 49ers quarterback has drawn praise and criticism for his protest of the U.S. song that began in late August.
Boyer shared an anecdote with ESPN of Kaepernick’s revised demonstration.
Boyer and Kaepernick had a long discussion with Reid. During the conversation, Boyer showed the afro-sporting Kaepernick a text message from a friend in the military. The serviceman initially agreed with Boyer about Kaepernick’s right to protest. But upon seeing his comrade in a flag-covered coffin, the soldier became angry.
“I could see it in [Kaepernick’s] eyes,” Boyer said. “It definitely affected him. He said, ‘How can I show respect to people like that, but still get my message across that I’m not satisfied with the way things are going in this country?’ ”
Kaepernick explained he really does “respect the heck out of the military.” And his teammate Reid was willing to join the protest if they could find an alternative to sitting. Boyer’s suggestion of standing with Kaepernick as the quarterback bowed his head was shot down.
Then Reid suggested kneeling.
“I think that it was very big of him to change his physical position, to taking a knee, to show respect to those people,” Reid later told the Mercury News. “But still stand up for the message he was trying to portray.”
That message is justice for Black people who are oppressed in America. Reid said Kaepernick’s goal is to keep discussions about race open to lead to a change.
“I believe in what he’s doing,” Reid continued, stating he will continue to be part of the protest. “I believe that there are issues in this country – many issues, too many to name… I just wanted to show him I support him. I know there are other people in this country that feel the same way.”