Colin Kaepernick

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Colin Kaepernick

Brian Quirarte, Sports Writer

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Colin Rand Kaepernick was born on November 3, 1987, and is an American activist and former American football quarterback in the National Football League. He last played for the San Francisco 49ers in 2016.

Kaepernick began his professional football career as a backup quarterback to Alex Smith, and became the 49ers’ starter in the middle of the 2012 season after Smith suffered a concussion. He then remained the team’s starting quarterback for the rest of the season, leading the team to their first Super Bowl appearance since 1994.

In November 2017, Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL and its owners, accusing them of colluding to keep him out of the league. Kaepernick withdrew the grievance in February 2019 after reaching a confidential settlement with the NFL.

In the 49ers third preseason game of the 2016 season, Kaepernick was noticed sitting down during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” as opposed to the tradition of standing. During a post-game interview, he explained his position stating, “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”, referencing a series of African-American deaths caused by law enforcement that led to the Black Lives Matter movement and adding that he would continue to protest until he feels like “the American flag represents what it’s supposed to represent”.

After the September 2016 police shootings of Terence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott,  Kaepernick commented publicly on the shootings saying, “this is a perfect example of what this is about”. Photos then surfaced of him wearing socks depicting police officers as pigs. In a statement he acknowledged wearing them as a statement against “rogue cops”. He maintained that he has friends/family in law enforcement and that there are cops with “good intentions” who protect and serve and he was not targeting all police. Kaepernick went on to kneel during the anthem prior to every 49ers game that season.

After his national anthem protests, Kaepernick pledged to donate one million dollars to “organizations working in oppressed communities.” In 2018, Kaepernick announced that he would make the final $100,000 donation of his “Million Dollar Pledge” in the form of $10,000 donations to charities that would be matched by celebrities.

Also in 2016, Kaepernick founded the “Know Your Rights Camp”, an organization which holds free seminars to disadvantaged youths to teach them about self-empowerment, American history and legal rights.

In November 2017, Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL and its owners, accusing them of colluding to keep him out of the league. Kaepernick withdrew the grievance in February 2019 after reaching a confidential settlement with the NFL.

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