Last year, Nate Boyer took notice of Colin Kaepernick sitting on the bench during the national anthem.
“To me it looked like he just hated America,” said Boyer.
Boyer who served in the army as a Green Beret, and played in the NFL wrote an open letter to Kaepernick, which led to a conversation between the two.
“I tried to come from a more open minded place and just put aside my personal feelings about it,” said Boyer.
Boyer says he now understands where Kaepernick is coming from. Kaepernick claims to protest not the military, but police brutality and social injustices. The two came to an agreement that kneeling was a more respectful way to demonstrate.
“Everywhere in the world, racism exists on some level, but we can always do better,” said Boyer.
The issue came to light again this season, with some players kneeling during the anthem. An angry President Trump said owners should fire the players who demonstrate. In response, several teams and owners kneeled before the anthem at games in unity.
“It wasn't about Colin's message, it was about protesting President Trump's remarks,” said Boyer.
Amid the controversy this year, Boyer wrote another open letter. This time, it was to President Trump, Kaepernick and America as a whole.
“I just want to bring us all together. I would love nothing more than President Trump and Colin Kaepernick to have a conversation. I don't think it's going to happen,” said Boyer.
Boyer still thinks kneeling disrespects the military, however he hopes one day Americans can all have reasons to stand during the anthem.
“Even though you're not making it about the military, or about 'I hate my country,' you don't get to choose how it's perceived. So that's where it's complicated,” said Boyer.
“What better time than the national anthem, giving what it stands for. What better time to talk about freedom for all people?” said Nelson Linder, Austin NAACP President.
Linder served in the Army as well, but has a different feeling on kneeling.
“We're not talking about the military. I'm a military guy and it doesn't bother me,” said Linder.
Boyer believes the country still has issues to resolve and hopes somewhere down the line, there will be a better America for all.
“I don't like it. I don't like to see people taking a knee, but I also don't like that they don't feel equal,” said Boyer.