Nate Boyer Dropped A Knowledge Bomb

Last year when President Frump was elected, I wrote a piece about our country’s momentary laps of human decency and the break-down of our country’s general ethos.  You can read it here.

Then recently the Colin Kaepernick protest became a twitter-fest of classic magician’s diversion tactics from our President, when he attacked every NFL football player who knelt during the national anthem.  In blustering “Great and Powerful Oz” – like form, the Orange Menace (Trump) quickly raised his tiny hand and spewed to the world, “PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN” as he waived his not-so-magic wand around the country drawing a line in the sand for us all.

On one side, the “Patriots” who honor the flag and what it stands for by arguing points that contradict the entire point of the flag and this country.  On the other side, “Sons of bitches” who kneel in order to stand for those who’s voice will not be heard, they kneel so that they can stand up against tyranny and unjust actions in this country.  The lost messages in this argument have become thicker than Trump’s dumb head.

Almost a year later, we’re further down the rabbit-hole and no red or blue pill is going to pull us out of the darkness and bring us towards the light.  Our country is in shambles, completely dis-jointed and the appointed “leader” is swinging the wrecking-ball.

But today, I read this article on ESPN and felt hope for a mere moment.  Hope for a better future, hope for a discussion and movement forward for EVERYONE.  If you’ve got half a brain, you’ll read it.  If you’re a Trumpian, I’ll warn you it’s a lot longer than 140 characters, so strap your self in.  And maybe, just maybe, you can be more open-minded than our President and think in terms of US instead of ME.


Ex-Green Beret Nate Boyer writes open letter to Trump, Kaepernick, NFL and America

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dear Every Single American,

Every. Single. American. Including President Trump, Colin Kaepernick, and my brothers in arms overseas who are wondering, “what in the hell is going on back there?” I’m sitting in the same chair, in the same apartment that I sat in almost a year ago when I wrote an open letter to Colin Kaepernick. I was hurt when I saw him sitting on the bench during the national anthem, but I’m much more hurt now. Not by him, not by where we’re at now with the protests, but by us.

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.

Today it feels like this national divide isn’t even really about the anthem, or the flag, or kneeling, or sitting, or fists in the air. It’s not about President Donald Trump, it’s not about Colin Kaepernick, it’s not about the military, or even police brutality. It feels like it’s about winning. That’s what makes America so great, our sheer competitiveness. We’re winners, and we won’t quit until victory is ours.

We see it in sports everyday, we “live and die” by the outcomes of our teams. That desire to win at all cost is costing us greatly now among our neighbors. This winning mentality seems to have spilled over into an obsession with being right and not willing to admit that maybe, just maybe we were wrong. We repeat mantras to ourselves like, “no matter what I will never ever surrender.”

“To deploy overseas, train, live with, fight alongside, and ultimately defend foreigners that you have little in common with is truly a challenging task. But returning home to a country that is so divided, so judgmental, and so hateful of one another is almost as difficult to deal with as burying a fallen comrade.”

Nate Boyer on the pulse of America right now

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.

That’s how it all started with Colin and I, neither of us knew that kneeling would be the result of our conversation. Colin wanted to sit, I wanted him to stand, and so we found a common ground on a knee alongside his teammates. I believe that progress and real change happens in this world when you reach across the divide, you build a bridge, you swallow your pride, you open your mind, you embrace what you don’t understand, and ultimately you surrender.

Now I don’t pretend to speak for everyone who fought overseas, many veterans rightfully disagree with my position. But I do feel that I echo the sentiments of most war fighters when I say that what we hope for more than anything right now in America is unity. To deploy overseas, train, live with, fight alongside, and ultimately defend foreigners that you have little in common with is truly a challenging task. But returning home to a country that is so divided, so judgmental, and so hateful of one another is almost as difficult to deal with as burying a fallen comrade. In fact we’re still losing our brothers in arms overseas right now and it’s hardly mentioned it in the media; but that’s OK, we don’t risk our lives and sacrifice so much for fanfare or recognition. It’s not at all why we do what we do. We do what we do because you are worth it, because we love you.

I would love for those two leaders to have that conversation, but more than anything I just want us to love one another again. One great thing about freedom is that you get to choose everyday how you treat your neighbor. This IS the best country in the world, but we can always do better. I’m laying it all out there because I have to, I swore to defend this land and its people, and I will die trying. I know some people will hate this (we love to hate things these days), and I’ll get called a disgrace to the Green Beret once again. But I don’t care, the United States means more to me than any of that.

Over the past year I’ve come across veterans from various walks of life. We may actually be the most diverse sub-culture in the America. Since I myself am a Green Beret, I want to share with you a couple of messages that were sent to me from men in my former unit. One of them is white, and one of them is black:

“Hey brother. At first I was with you on the Kaepernick issue. However, I just stood in formation while one of our brothers was pulled off a plane with our nation’s flag draped over the coffin. I had to fight back tears as I saw the pain in the eyes of Staff Sergeant T’s wife and family. While I would like to sit here and tell you that I rose above it all, I have to be honest. My heart filled with rage. Rage for anyone who takes for granted the ideals and symbols that we fight and die for.”

“Hey Brother, this is J. I spent nearly 18 years in 10th Special Forces Group and wish I had an opportunity to meet a brother like yourself. I just want to say I appreciate your views on this national anthem and flag issue. I love our country, but at the same time I have to take the time to tell my sons to act a certain way out of fear for their lives when dealing with police officers. Most of my neighbors and friends here in MD are law enforcement personnel and will tell you they also have to act a certain way to avoid confrontation and situations that normally don’t occur for those that are not of color. Not all officers are bad, the majority I believe are good and poor training is attributed to some of these issues we hear of. I really just want to thank you for your taking the time out to understand and convincing him to take a knee and not sit out on what we have fought for. God Bless You Bro!”

Different backgrounds, different experiences, different colors, but at the end of the day they just want the same basic things for their families.

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.

De Oppresso Liber

— Nate Boyer

And Yet, Colin Kaepernick Still Has No Job…..

originally posted on deadspin.com…..


Brandon Weeden? Brandon Weeden.

The Tennessee Titans have reportedly found a new quarterback to replace an injured Marcus Mariota, and it’s former 28-year-old rookie Brandon Weeden, a.k.a. the most hilarious Cleveland Browns draft pick ever, a.k.a. the guy last seen as a third-stringer behind Tom Savage and Brock Osweiler.

Mariota, who suffered a hamstring injury against the Texans, is questionable for Sunday afternoon’s game at Miami.

Weeden—and not, say, a younger quarterback who actually played or started last year, and whose skill set and scheme experience would be a closer match for the offense run by Mariota—will battle for the starting job against 35-year-old Matt Cassel, who is also old and who also sucks, but at least unlike Weeden, didn’t always suck.

Weeden, seen above getting sacked by the American flag, started 20 games for the Browns in 2012 and 2013, eventually losing the starting role to Jason Campbell. Now 33 years old, he reportedly won a Titans contract over such luminaries as Matt Barkley, Matt McGloin, and T.J. Yates.

Who Will Lead?

Three thoughts I never imagined I’d ponder on a Monday in September:

1.  The NFL and it’s players are under attack, not by worried mothers, not by CTE or brain damage and not by a league-wide plague of herpes….but from our own President of the United States.

Donald Trump:

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired,'” Trump said. “You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in this country.”

2.  According to near-sighted people, kneeling is the most disrespectful act a person can demonstrate towards the American flag.

“The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free.”

“The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.”

“It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard.”

“The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever.”

“No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations.”

3.  The country is being divided and bred to harbor anger towards fellow Americans by our own President.

The main question I have at this point, is how did we get here?  How did we go from Colin Kaepernick kneeling to protest the injustice and killing of African American citizens due to a systematic problem with the police department, to Donald Trump calling NFL players “sons of bitches” and creating a false-narrative about patriotism?

The NFL timeline since Colin Kaepernick’s protest, a post-Kaepernick era:

  • Aug 14, 2016- Colin Kaepernick sits for the national anthem…..and no one noticed.
  • Aug 20th, 2016- Colin again sits, and again, no one noticed.
  • Aug 26th, 2016- Colin sits and this time he is met with a monsoon of hatred unseen against an athlete in recent memory.  Even the future President (Trump) of the United States took shots at him while on the campaign trail.  Colin went on to explain his protest had NOTHING to with the military.
  • Aug 30th, 2016 Nate Boyer, a former Army Green Beret turned NFL long snapper, penned an open letter to Colin in the Army Times.  In it he expressed how Colin’s actions affected him.
-Excerpt from the letter:
“I’m not judging you for standing up for what you believe in. It’s your inalienable right. What you are doing takes a lot of courage, and I’d be lying if I said I knew what it was like to walk around in your shoes. I’ve never had to deal with prejudice because of the color of my skin, and for me to say I can relate to what you’ve gone through is as ignorant as someone who’s never been in a combat zone telling me they understand what it’s like to go to war.
Even though my initial reaction to your protest was one of anger, I’m trying to listen to what you’re saying and why you’re doing it.
There are already plenty people fighting fire with fire, and it’s just not helping anyone or anything. So I’m just going to keep listening, with an open mind.
I look forward to the day you’re inspired to once again stand during our national anthem. I’ll be standing right there next to you.  Keep on trying … De Oppresso Liber.”
“De Oppresso Liber” is Latin, a motto of U.S. Army Special Forces, which can be translated to meaning “To free the oppressed,” or possibly “Free from having been oppressed.” Or even “Free from the oppressed one.”
Nate Boyer expressed empathy, and Colin Kaepernick responded by inviting Nate to San Diego to speak with him about the topic.  In the 90-minute discussion between the two men, Nate Boyer suggested a compromise that few and proud among us could only HOPE to reach when in the midst of clashing philosophies.
Nate proposed Colin kneel instead of sit for the National Anthem.
But why kneel?
In a military funeral, after the flag is taken off the casket of the fallen military member, it is folded 13 times and then presented to the parents, spouse or child of the fallen soldier by a fellow service member while KNEELING.  The two decided that kneeling for the flag would symbolize his respect for those that paid the ultimate sacrifice while still allowing Colin to peacefully protest the injustices.
Empathy and understanding is what brought Kaepernick and Boyer to a compromise that both felt was a common ground.  The power of discussion, dialogue and listening overpowered the notion of hate or hubris between the two completely different men.
What can we learn from these two men that we obviously can not learn from our “Commander and Chief”?  We MUST look through the fine-brushed canvas painting portraying patriotism as division and really SEE the truth of ourselves and our country.  The toughest window to look out of is a mirror.
The divide in our country permeated by our country’s “leadership” can be mended, but this bitter argument about a man kneeling during the National Anthem has opened Pandora’s box of confused rhetoric.
A nation divided can not stand.
The truth is out there, but understanding the story without rushing to judgement is the key to any growth or compromise.  From this rubble and ash we need a leader to rise, someone to unify and lead.
  • Great leaders remain positive even when under pressure and scrutiny
  • Great leaders exhibit confidence but not arrogance or hubris
  • Great leaders have a sense of humor but also know when to be serious
  • Great leaders embrace failure and use it as a tool for learning and moving forward Great leaders manage setbacks and manage emotions
  • Great leaders listen intently to the opposition and respond articulately
  • Great leaders inspire and motivate
  • Great leaders take responsibility and never place blame
  • Great leaders make decisions based on experience and lessons learned
  • Great leaders lead by example and commit to doing what’s in the best interest of the group   

 Who will stand and lead?

“The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, ensuring that there is no prohibition on the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble, or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.”

 

Gregg Popovich Is America’s Wise, Old Grandpa

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San Antonio’s Coach Pop, the world’s first-most renowned expert on sarcasm and live television Dad-scolding, sounded off on the Colin Kaepernick National Anthem protest that has swept the nation faster than Donald Trump’s poop-words concerning our fine country.

Popovich, an Air Force veteran, heavily warned a reporter that “general questions” only reap “general answers”, and that demagoguery (Trump and Government in General?) is the enemy of civilization’s progress (flying cars and hoverboards), AND that there isn’t an issue in America that isn’t informed by race. (The San Antonio Express-News has transcribed the entire interview, and 100% go read it.)

What are your thoughts on what’s going on in the country?

“I think it’s really dangerous to answer such important questions that have confounded so many people for hundreds of years, to ask me to give you my solutions, as if I had any, in 30 seconds. So if you want to be specific about a question, I’ll be more than happy to answer it because I think race is the elephant in the room in our country. The social situation that we’ve all experienced is absolutely disgusting in a lot of ways. What’s really interesting is the people that jump right away to say, one is attacking the police, or the people that jump on the other side. It’s a question where understanding and empathy has to trump, no pun intended, has to trump any quick reactions of an ideological or demagogical nature. It’s a topic that can’t just be swung at, people have to be very accurate and direct in what they say and do.”

Can we all say in unison: POP FOR PRESIDENT!  POP FOR PRESIDENT!!

Popovich is the 3rd professional head coach (old white guy) to sound off recently when asked about the protesting of the National Anthem.

Chip Kelly: “We all have inalienable rights as a citizen of this country and they’re being violated”.

Steve Kerr: “No matter what side of the spectrum you’re on, I would hope that every American is disgusted with what is going on around the country”.

It’s empowering to see that even people who have not (more than likely) themselves been victims of social imbalances or had the pendulum of racism tip away from their favor at any point in their life, can still recognize the problems so eloquently and provide insight as well as empathy about it.  The only answer that I can see immediately is the most obvious first step, more and more discussion about racial injustices are overdue and beyond necessary.  We must push the agenda to discuss the topics publicly instead of pushing them under the rug, we must also accept the conflict of discussion with an open mind instead of hiding behind ignorance.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

 

 

Calm Down Broncos Fans, Colin Kaepernick To The Rescue

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It’s deja vu for Broncos fans who remember the John Elway era and Superbowl (s) run back in the late 90s when the looming quarterback question marks hovered over the franchise’s shoulder attempting to sneak a few answers to the post-Elway pop quiz situation.

Now, post-Superbowl victory yet again, the Broncos are in the same situation with the retirement of Peyton Manning and the looming Brock Osweiler contract negotiations.

Just to be clear (and present danger), the Broncos have an offer of 3 years for $45 million on the table to Brock-lobster-like-a-Bossweiler.  Brock went 5-2 as a starter and showed enough glimmers of NOT SUCKING to convince the Broncos that he is capable of “leading” this offense on a weekly basis.  And while we’re here discussing this topic let’s just be honest, if the Denver defense remains healthy and plays the way they did last year (ranked #1 in total defense) then the starting quarterback could be a flying squirrel named Bucky and they’d still make the playoffs.

The good news for Broncos fans?  The backup plan is Colin Kaepernick!  You know, the guy that was basically RUN out of San Francisco last season?  The guy who has less touch on his passes than John Goodman has on his meat-farts!!!  GREAT.

At least we know that Kaepernick is working out in the off-season: