This week’s article is about former NFL quarterback and political activist Colin Kaepernick. We highlighted Kaepernick on a Famous Friday previously in September of 2016. Kaepernick’s biological mother, Heidi Russo, is Caucasian while his father is African-American. Kaepernick was taken in by Rick and Teresa Kaepernick shortly after Russo placed him up for adoption. At eight years old, Kaepernick began playing football as a defensive end, transitioning to the Quarterback position one year later. During his high school career, Kaepernick played basketball, baseball, as well as continuing as a Quarterback in football. Excelling at the position as well as in the classroom, Colin was named All-State in California while also achieving a 4.0 GPA in his senior year of high school. Pursuing his love for football, Kaepernick attended The University of Nevada even after getting drafted into the MLB by the Chicago Cubs. At Nevada, Kaepernick threw for over 10,000 yards and ran for over 4,000, becoming the only FBS quarterback to ever achieve such statistics. Before the 2011 NFL season, Kaepernick was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers. In his tenure, Kaepernick experienced much success in the 2012 season where he led the 49ers to the Super Bowl.
We last picked up on Kaepernick’s journey just before the start of the 2016 NFL season, when Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem. During an interview, Kaepernick stated that it was not to show any disrespect toward the military or our veterans, but rather that he would not stand for a country that oppressed African-Americans through police brutality. This act of civil resistance toward police brutality led to controversy, halting Kaepernick’s NFL career. Kaepernick opted out of his six-year contract with the 49ers, becoming a free agent, but would not be resigned. While he has not played professional football since, more and more professional athletes began to protest the national anthem and supporting Kaepernick’s cause. Additionally, in 2018, Nike began to endorse Colin Kaepernick with the slogan, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Moreover, with the recent injury to reigning NFL MVP, Patrick Mahomes, multiple news sources believe Kaepernick may have an opportunity to re-enter the league.
During Kaepernick’s effort, his philanthropy has included establishing the Colin Kaepernick Foundation as well as various donations to non-profits. The Colin Kaepernick Foundation was developed in order to fight oppression by educating younger generations. Continuing, Kaepernick also took a Million Dollar Pledge as he promised to donate 1 million dollars to charity. Living up to his promise, Kaepernick allegedly donated 900,000 dollars to various charities between October 2016 and June 2017.
Kaepernick’s platform has led to an inspiration for change in our country, showing that our society is far from perfect. One quote from Kaepernick has stuck with me as his effort develops. During an interview, when asked if anyone from the 49ers had asked him to, “tone it down”, Kaepernick stated, “no one’s tried to quiet me and, to be honest, it’s not something I’m going to be quiet about. I’m going to speak the truth when I’m asked about it. This isn’t for look. This isn’t for publicity or anything like that. This is for people that don’t have the voice. And this is for people that are being oppressed and need to have equal opportunities to be successful.”
Project Race Teens Vice President