Former Texas long snapper Nate Boyer wrote an open letter for ArmyTimes.com on Tuesday, supporting San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick incited a national debate last week upon his decision to not stand during the national anthem, saying, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
The quarterback’s actions sparked a wide range of criticism and support, with Boyer voicing the latter. Boyer — a former U.S. Army Green Beret — said he was initially angry at Kaepernick, but ultimately supported and understood his decision. “I’m not judging you for standing up for what you believe in,” Boyer wrote. “It’s your inalienable right. What you are doing takes a lot of courage, and I’d be lying if I said I knew what it was like to walk around in your shoes. I’ve never had to deal with prejudice because of the color of my skin, and for me to say I can relate to what you’ve gone through is as ignorant as someone who’s never been in a combat zone telling me they understand what it’s like to go to war.”
Boyer is currently an NFL free agent and works with an charity that builds relationships between military veterans and former NFL players.