Green Beret who convinced Kaepernick to kneel says why Nike’s ad troubles veterans

Former Green Beret Nate Boyer (right) stands next to Colin Kaepernick during the national anthem. (Screenshot from HBO video)

As a former green beret who played briefly in the NFL and helped shape Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest, Nate Boyer is as qualified as anyone to provide an honest review of Nike’s ad campaign featuring the ex-49ers quarterback.

Boyer, who graduated from Dublin’s Valley Christian High before going to the University of Texas and eventually to the Seahawks, said he and a lot of his fellow veterans don’t have an issue with the “Just Do It” ad featuring Kaepernick.

“I think more than anything, it’s probably a pretty good business decision,” Boyer told Sports Illustrated. “They wouldn’t have done this if they didn’t think it was going to be profitable. There’s no doubt about that.”

However, the message in the ad itself — “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything” — is quite another story.

“I’ve got a lot of people in the veteran community maybe that take more offense to the message of sacrificing everything more than the fact that Kaepernick is sort of the focus of the campaign,” said Boyer, hinting that thousands of veterans sacrificed their lives to serve the country. “Some people here are maybe hurt by the slogan itself. But I’m not going to say (Kaepernick) hasn’t sacrificed quite a bit. There’s no doubt about that.”

Boyer, if you recall, met privately with Kaepernick after the quarterback first protested the national anthem in the name of social justice for minorities. Boyer convinced Kaepernick to stop sitting on a bench and start kneeling during the anthem for a more respectful protest in the eyes of veterans.

“I don’t necessarily support Kap, but I will always stand up for his rights,” Boyer said.

In 2016, Boyer spoke with Bryan Gumbel on HBO’s Real Sports and detailed his conversation with Kaepernick that convinced him to kneel instead of sitting during the national anthem.


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