So we have all probably had enough of the Colin Kaepernick sitting-during-the-anthem thing. It’s been talked about on this site as well as countless others for hours and days on end. The fact that he has been spotted wearing socks depicting cops as pigs didn’t really gain him any credibility. Honestly, if the guy wants to get a message out, he seems to be muddying it just a bit.
But before this goes away and gets completely lost in the news cycle, at least until he stands up for the anthem and all is right again in the world, there are some positives stemming from the flag protest. Sure, Kaepernick could have gone about this much, much differently. Suggestions include bringing up some issues at a press conference or during an interview. Maybe. But what has happened is that the veteran community, led by former Green Beret Nate Boyer, who penned an open letter to Kaepernick last week, has been given some direct access to consult and discuss an explosive issue with the man at the center of it all.
ESPN documented the evolving relationship of Boyer and Kaepernick, one that is borne out of initial confusion, misunderstanding, and now, openness and directness. Instead of creating only more division in this country, the two came together, face to face, man to man, and discussed what was bothering them both and how to fix it and move forward.
“The first thing out of his (Kaepernick’s) mouth was, ‘I want you to know, first and foremost, I really do respect the heck out of the military, and I really want to thank you for your service. I just want you to know that,’” Boyer said Monday evening. “I said ‘Yeah, I do know that.’”
“I could see it in his (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?’”
The article goes on to detail the 90-minute meeting between vet and NFL star. In it, Boyer mentions the changing feelings of at least two servicemen (one active duty and one veteran).
While some might argue Kaepernick has taken the wrong approach, or that he has even abused his position of power, he has now indirectly given veterans a voice in the matter. Seeking out the opinion of a decorated veteran like Boyer is the first step to repair his image, acknowledge the large section of America taking the issue personally, and do something to heal the country.
Image courtesy: Chris Carlson/AP Photo