Colin Kaepernick is a professional football player and political activist, most known for his refusal to stand for the National Anthem in protest to police brutality. Being drafted to the NFL 2011, Kaepernick took the 49ers to Super Bowl XLVII as the starting quarterback a mere two years later.
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Kaepernick was adopted by a white couple, and they moved to California when Kaepernick was four years old where he grew up. Being a bi-racial kid with white parents, classmates would comment and they often received stars. His mother comments that “We’ve always been really open about the adoption, and we were always very open about the skin colors,” Teresa Kaepernick told The New York Times in 2010. “We pointed it out as a positive, and he saw his difference and was comfortable with it.”
Not only is Kaepernick comfortable with being bi-racial, he embraces his blackness and garnered national attention in silently protesting during the 2016 season when he remained seated during the Star Spangled Banner. He commented that “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder”.
His actions inspired many others in the NFL to follow suit, eventually leading to backlash to the NFL viewership for the season. The following season, Kaepernick went unsigned in the NFL and filed a lawsuit for being blackballed due to his political actions on the field. Eventually the NFL settled out of court.
Where the NFL saw a drop, Nike spotted an opportunity and Colin Kaepernick became the face of their 2018 campaign with the slogan “ Believe in Something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Through his leadership, he brought an ever larger spotlight on the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the United States. Not only did he amplify the message, but he put his money where his mouth was donating $1 million dollars to organizations working in oppressed communities.
Colin Kaepernick’s Black Moments:
- 2017 GQ Magazine Citizen of the Year
- Founded the “Know Your Rights Campaign”
- 2017 Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award
- 2017 American Civil Liberties Union Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award
- 2017 Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship honoree
- 2018 Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award
- 2018 Harvard University W. E. B. Du Bois Medal
RELATED BLACK MOMENT: Barack Obama