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“That’s Way More Disrespectful Than Anybody Taking the Knee”: NFL Veteran Who Advised Colin Kaepernick to Take a Knee Rips Kaep’s Haters for Disrespecting the National Anthem

Published 03/15/2023, 2:42 PM EDT

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Back in 2016, Colin Kaepernick managed to draw everyone’s attention toward him. Although his initial form of silent protests went unnoticed, Colin Kaepernick continued sitting out during the national anthem, until San Francisco beat writer Jennifer Lee Chan picked it up. As Colin Kaepernick grew accustomed to the attention, he confided in Former special forces soldier Nate Boyer while still being with the San Francisco 49ers. Boyer wrote an open letter to Kaepernick in the ‘Army Times’. The letter wasn’t specifically targeted at applauding Kaepernick but showcased Boyer’s anger at the player for sitting out during ‘The Star Spangled Banner’. Boyer, however, made it evident that he respected the player’s right to protest.

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After reading the letter, Colin Kaepernick and Nate Boyer met up to discuss racial inequalities and eventually decided that taking a knee was the more respectful choice. Years after the incident, Boyer recalled the infamous moment that changed the trajectory of not only Kaepernick’s career but the very lens through which we perceive racism in the NFL.

The moment when Colin Kaepernick took the knee


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Kaepernick bending the knee saw a large-scale protest thrown his way. After a year, Kaepernick’s career was in jeopardy as no team was willing to sign him.

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Even the former President of the USA, Donald Trump, called out the owners to “fire” the protesting players, sparking a massive outrage. The NFL protests became more widespread when over 200 players knelt in protest of Trump’s comments.


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Soon a movement was born but it all started with Kaepernick.

Nate Boyer recalled the eventful night, “So, he agrees to kneel, I stand next to him. And the most prominent sound I heard was the booing. To me, that’s way more disrespectful than anybody taking a knee, people booing during the anthem. And it’s like alright if you really care that much why are you not standing there with your hand to your heart singing the thing? You are booing somebody else”.

Boyer felt the boos were a form of disrespect to not our very right to protest, but the national anthem itself. After all, these people were angry at Kaepernick for kneeling during the anthem, but it’s okay to boo.


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So when I think of that and all the other incendiary remarks that he heard from people and racist things he heard from people. I understand why it’s tuff to wanna continue to find a middle ground as he did with me,” he added.

The motivation was deeply rooted

Colin Kaepernick went on to explain his actions, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.


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Kaepernick was instrumental in bringing around a wave of socially conscious and outspoken athletes to not just the NFL but all over the world. His protest continues to influence how athletes express their desire for change and Kaepernick was not the last athlete to take a knee during the national anthem from that point on.

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Written by:

Sagnik Majumder


One take at a time

Sagnik Majumder is an NFL writer at Essentially Sports. Being an army brat, he feels used to new uncomfortable surroundings. He started his early career as a freelance journalist and a Research Assistant to a few authors.
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Edited by:

Hitesh Nigam