A Look at Colin Kaepernick: Activist and Former NFL Player
Colin Kaepernick was born on November 3, 1987 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His mother was only 19 years when she gave birth to him and his father fled soon after learning of the pregnancy. He was adopted by Rick and Teresa Kaepernick at just a few weeks old.
Growing up he was extremely athletic. He was a quarterback and an impressive pitcher. At only 8 years old, he could throw a fastball up to 94 miles per hour. Kaepernick knew that professional sports were in his destiny at a young age. In the fourth grade, he wrote a letter to himself stating that he would play for the 49ers and be their starting quarterback.
In high school, he was surprisingly overlooked by major college football teams. They worried that his small frame would cause him to get hurt. In 2007, he was offered a scholarship to University of Nevada. He began the season by playing safety but later, he had to fill in for their injured quarterback and kept the position. At the end of the season he had 19 touchdowns.
Kaepernick was the first quarterback in the Division 1 FBS to pass over 10,000 yards and rush more than 4,000 yards. It was no surprise that he was the second pick for the 49ers during the 2011 NFL draft. During his second season with the team, he was chosen to be the permanent starting quarterback.
Kaepernick continued to play strongly and even took his team to the 2013 season championship against the Seattle Seahawks. The next two seasons proved to be a struggle for the star. In 2015 he was removed from his starter position and placed on the bench because of a shoulder injury.
In 2016, Kaepernick made a life changing decision to take a kneel during the national anthem. The kneel was a form of protest against the United States’ long history of social injustice and police brutality against Black people and people of color. He continued his protest despite receiving criticism from other NFL players, politicians and major figures. But as more people expressed their anger against his actions, supporters made sure that their messages of love and gratitude rang even louder. By the end of the season, he was a free agent.
In 2017, Kaepernick sued the NFL’s owners for “colluding to deprive Mr. Kaepernick of employment rights in retaliation for Mr. Kaepernick's leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice and his bringing awareness to peculiar institutions still undermining racial equality in the United States.” That same year GQ magazine named Kaepernick their citizen of the year.
Kaepernick has received many honors that recognize his brave decision. In 2018, Nike released an ad for their 30th anniversary with Kaepernick as the face of their “Just Do It”. The ad shocked and angered many and people went as far to burn Nike clothing and shoes. The ad stated "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything." which is exactly what Kaepernick did.
Kaepernick continues to speak up about his decision and about the racial inequalities Blacks face in American. His brave words and actions have started something bigger than him and the game of football. He started a revolution and is the true meaning of living with a purpose.