Nate Boyer felt a connection with the quarterback. He even had an autographed football that Kaepernick had signed and written, of all things, “God Bless Our Troops.” And the 49ers? That was Boyer’s favorite team.
So when he heard that Kaepernick sat down during “The Star-Spangled Banner” before an NFL exhibition game in 2016, it struck close to home.
“Initially, I was pretty disappointed,” recalled Boyer, who was in Lubbock, Texas, working a fundraiser for veterans when he learned of the gesture.
Boyer had seen death and devastation in Africa, had multiple war deployments as a Green Beret, and even had a period of homelessness. He had a perspective about sports, and understood more about the NFL than the average fan, having spent a few weeks in training camp with the Seattle Seahawks as a long snapper.