We’ll Never Forget How Colin Kaepernick Protested For Black Lives. Here’s What He’s Been Up To

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In 2016, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem, protesting “police brutality and racial injustice in America.” In the aftermath, the NFL ousted Kaepernick for his peaceful demonstration.

But Kaepernick’s social activism has extended way beyond and before the kneeling. In one example, after the police lynched Mario Woods in 2015 a year before he metaphorically took a stand, Kaepernick and his partner Nessa founded, Know Your Rights Camp (KNYC), “a free campaign…to raise awareness on higher education, self empowerment, and instructions on how to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios.”

The civil rights activist is also an ardent supporter of Black history. Kaepernick says his intellectual journey began when he was handed “a copy of The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley. I found the book revelatory.” However throughout the years, Haley’s book has been the target of book bans, a practice against which Kaepernick has been extremely vocal.

“The evolution of my thinking comes from a combination of elevating my own political education by reading the works of Black radical thinkers and being in conversation with Black radical organizers,” he said.

According to Kaepernick, “Black Studies and, more generally, a critical engagement with U.S. history, threatens the white supremacist status quo.”

“Any attempt to whitewash the past should actually be understood as a concrete step toward fascism and a desire to build a nation state where power is concentrated in the hands of a self-anointed (read: white) few,” Kaepernick explained. “That said, I wouldn’t characterize GOP attacks on Black Studies as an ‘obsession’ but rather as core to their white supremacist political project.”

In fact, Kaepernick’s work outside of football has been extremely prolific—”[h]e has written books: one on criminal justice, and another for children.” In addition, he teamed up with award winning “filmmaker Ava DuVernay to create a Netflix docuseries…with a focus on his teenage years and the upbringing that framed his social conscience.”

Even though it’s been eight years since Kaepernick kneeled down on the field, his actions have had long-lasting repercussions. As sports journalist Marcus Hayes attested, “[t]he ripple effect of what Colin Kaepernick began… do we have Kamala Harris as the vice president of the United States without Colin Kaepernick? This all sort of exploded with the murder of George Floyd. But does the murder of George Floyd explode without the presence of Colin Kaepernick?”

What’s next on Kaepernick’s horizon? Per NBC Sports, because Jim Harbaugh has returned to the NFL, pundits predict that means “Colin Kaepernick could be back…too.” In the meantime, as football gears up for the upcoming Super Bowl, Kaepernick traveled to Spain, meeting up with Real Madrid player Vinicius Jr, “to discuss the fight against racism in sport.”  

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