Former Texas Longhorns football player Nate Boyer, who is at the center of the debate over kneeling during the national anthem, is not surprised that the National Football League moved this week to force players to stand or stay in the locker room, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.
"I get it. I get where it comes from. They're worried about the drop in ratings and the divisiveness that has spread into football now," he says.
Boyer, who is a Green Beret, was formally on the San Francisco 49ers after graduating from UT-Austin. He was approached by teammate Colin Kaepernick who wanted the advice of a veteran on how to respectfully protest.
Boyer told him to kneel, which is what soldiers do in front of a fallen brother's grave.
In an exclusive interview with WOAI's Michael Board, Boyer feels the new NFL rules, which some see as forcing players to act a certain way, are unhealthy.
"I don’t think anybody should be a robot or be stuck in a position where they feel like they don’t have the freedom of speech that everybody else has," he explains.
In a statement, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the new national anthem policy that requires players to stand but gives them the option to remain in the locker room if they prefer."
The 32 member clubs of the National Football League have reaffirmed their strong commitment to work alongside our players to strengthen our communities and advance social justice," he wrote.
If a player violates the rules, the NFL says there will be fines.Boyer is curious to see how the new rules play out. One thing he says if for sure: banning players from kneeling will not change what is in their hearts that cause them to protest in the first place.
"It will be interest to see what happens as the season nears with all of this but, yea, this is a topic that's not going away."
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