In August of 2016, then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a stand by taking a seat.
Kaepernick chose to remain seated on the bench during the playing of the national anthem prior to his team’s final preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. He later explained that his actions were done in protest of police brutality and social injustices people of color face in the United States. It wasn’t the first time Kaepernick had made the move, but this time, people noticed.
Nate Boyer, a U.S. Army veteran and former NFL long snapper, was one of those people.
Boyer, a Green Beret, was moved to write an open letter to Kaepernick about his feelings on the protest. The letter made its way to the quarterback, who then reached out to Boyer to talk. The ensuing discussion between the two prompted Kaepernick to kneel, rather than sit, the next time he protested — and the next time, and the next time.