Back in the summer of 2016, military vet Nate Boyer and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick gave birth to the ‘kneel’ in response to police brutality and racial inequality in the United States. During national anthems, protestors would kneel rather than stand. Now, the NFL have put in policies against these protesters, giving out fines to anyone who refuses to stand with Nate Boyer publicly calling out the league.
On Friday, the Memorial Day weekend in the US, Boyer took to a San Diego radio station to express his thoughts on the new procedures.
“This was a big opportunity to bring the players to the discussion with the league and they didn’t do it,” Boyer told radio host Scott Kaplan and his 1090 radio station crew. “I don’t really understand that.”
“Why not open those lines of communication?” he asked Kaplan on his radio show.
“You want to know why?” the host responded. “Because, ‘We’re the rich, white owners, and they’re the young, black ballplayers who we just made rich. So they don’t tell us what to do. We tell them what to do.’”
“I don’t think they all think that,” Boyer fired back.
“There’s about 10 of them that do,” Kaplan responded. “If you looked at the 32 owners, you could pinpoint which ones are those guys. Those guys wield a lot of power still. Now you’re starting to hear some owners break off and go, ‘No. I don’t really care guys. You want to protest? Freedom of speech. Do your thing.’”
On Monday, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) posted a tweet comparing the protest to that of a Nazi Salute, of course Boyer responded. “That’s a little farfetched… a lot farfetched, I should say.” Boyer said on CNN’s New Day. “Taking a knee was sort of born out of compromise between two people who didn’t necessarily agree on everything… You can’t compare it to a Nazi salute.”
Disgraceful that @nyjets owner will pay fines for players who kneel for National Anthem. Encouraging a movement premised on lies vs. police. Would he support all player protests? Would he pay fines of players giving Nazi salutes or spew racism? It’s time to say goodbye to Jets!
— Rep. Pete King (@RepPeteKing) May 26, 2018
The decision to kneel initially came about when Kaepernick became increasingly angry about about the string of high-profile police shootings of black men like Alton Sterling and Philando Castile when he decided to sit on the San Francisco 49ers bench while the national anthem played during his team’s pre-season games. Nate Boyer noticed this and convinced the player in an open letter to kneel instead.
“We sort of came to a middle ground where he would take a knee alongside his teammates,” Boyer told Gumbel. “Soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother’s grave to show respect.”
Boyer closed his argument on middle ground.“Football is such a huge footprint in our country,” he said. “It’s certainly not going away now just because these policies have came down. There will still be this discussion. It’ll be interesting to see what the fans do.”