Former Green Beret and Seattle Seahawks long snapper Nate Boyer wrote an open letter Friday addressing President Donald Trump, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the issue of unity in the United States.
In the letter, posted by ESPN.com's Nick Wagoner, Boyer appealed to every American to unify and work on closing the national divide rather than worrying about who is "winning" the debate regarding protests during the national anthem.
Boyer specifically mentioned Trump and Kaepernick and expressed his belief that strides could be made if they sit down to have a conversation with each other.
Boyer mentioned a recent discussion he had with a group of veterans, and how that shaped his line of thinking regarding Trump and Kaepernick:
"Earlier this week I sat down with a group of five Combat Arms and Special Operations Veterans. The round table discussed our individual feelings on the flag, the anthem, and the players who knelt when it was played. We all had very different takes, but what surprised me most at the end of the discussion was that we all agreed on one thing. Colin Kaepernick and President Trump should be the ones uniting our country together. Wait...what? I know it sounds crazy, but maybe that's exactly what we need to see. Maybe that's how we start to heal. Two men sit in a room and talk, simple as that."
The former University of Texas walk-on also talked about how he penned an open letter to Kaepernick last year and how they reached common ground regarding how to protest while still respecting the flag.
An overarching theme in Boyer's letter was the notion that Americans are arguing over the protests during the national anthem for the wrong reasons:
"Simply put, it seems like we just hate each other; and that is far more painful to me than any protest, or demonstration, or rally, or tweet. We're told to pick a side, there's a line drawn in the sand 'are you with us or against us?' It's just not who we are, or at least who we're supposed to be; we're supposed to be better than that, we're Americans. This doesn't even seem to be about right or wrong, but more about right or left."
To recap his thoughts, Boyer called for an end to the conflict and made it clear that he isn't interested in picking sides:
"So please, no more lines in the sand, not at home, not among our people. No more choosing sides, no more 'for or against.' I believe our Veterans will be called upon to lead the way in healing the world and solving its problems; right now our country needs that more than I can remember. So I'll be here, standing in the radical middle, doing what I can to continue fighting for those that can't fight for themselves. Let's get this thing fixed together, you and me. I love you all with all my heart."
Kaepernick's decision to kneel during the national anthem last season was the start of a movement that has grown across the NFL and elsewhere in 2017.
Players became even more emboldened to take part beginning in Week 3 after Trump said players who protest should be fired, referring to them as "that son of a bitch", at a rally in Alabama.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to the NFL's 32 teams calling for players to stand, but it remains unclear if the league will attempt to enforce that moving forward.