After speaking out about players kneeling during the national anthem and sparking backlash on social media, Drew Brees is apologizing over his comments misunderstanding the national protests over racial injustice. However, the entire event of kneeling throws back to 2016, when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem throughout the season after the recommendation of his former teammate and army veteran, Nate Boyer. The former Green Beret suggested how kneeling would be a "sign of respect" for the fallen instead of sitting during the national anthem.
"I thought — at that time I said, look, I think your point has definitely been made that everyone's listening," Boyer said in an interview with NPR in 2018. "Like, let's make a plan of attack now. And, you know, let's work on action for it." Kaepernick then told Boyer he's "committed to this," and he's not going to do this plan until changes are made. Boyer then told Kapernick he thought, "kneeling was more respectful, and I will say that being alongside his teammates was the biggest thing for me."
Boyer continued and said kneeling has "never been in our history really seen as a disrespectful act." However, Boyer stated he's not surprised Kaepernick gained a ton of attention — good and bad — for kneeling. "You know, I'm not surprised just because of where we are as a nation," Boyer said. "And we've become increasingly divided over the last decade, more than I remember in my whole lifetime."
Boyer was recently on The Odd Couple with Rob Parker and Fred Roggin, responding to Brees' commented on kneeling. "In this time, especially as a white man, we're coming to a point where we really need to just listen," Boyer said. When somebody asks us a question like that is hoping to get a soundbite to use and put out on the airwaves, that was an opportunity to go another way with it. It's the way he feels, I respect his feelings on that, and I understand there are a lot of people I served with in the military that feels the same way, but it also hurt a lot of people. It seemed a bit tone deaf to a lot of people, considering everything that's going on, this week especially.