Colin Kaepernick

From quarterback to civil rights icon

Colin Kaepernick showed athletic talent early on, playing basketball, baseball and American football as a child and teenager. He originally aspired to a career in baseball, but decided to play football in his early twenties. A good decision, as he already sets records during his time as quarterback for the "Wolf Pack" of the University of Nevada. He began his professional career in 2011 with the San Francisco 49ers, with whom he played in the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship Game in 2013.

In addition to his athletic achievements, however, Kaepernick is best known for his commitment against racism and for the Black Lives Matter movement. At practice games in 2016, he initially remained seated during the national anthem, and on Sept. 1, 2016, he knelt during the anthem to protest systemic oppression and police violence in the United States. This action inspired many other athletes, but also had consequences: Kaepernick was dismissed from the team and could not return to the NFL until today. But Colin Kaepernick doesn't let it get him down: Even off the football field, he continues to fight against the oppression of people of color and tirelessly campaigns for justice, equality and integrity.

Meet Colin Kaepernick

Want to see Colin Kaepernick live? The activist and football player will be speaking on the Main Stage on the first day of the trade show, November 28. Get your ticket for ISPO Munich 2023 now and meet Colin Kaepernick!

Hero moments

Solidarity and role modeling not only for their own team, but also for players on other NFL teams, for athletes in other sports, nationally and internationally. Support from President Barack Obama. Criticism by presidential candidate Donald Trump. Colin Kaepernick's "Taking a Knee" and his protest for equality and against police violence attracted worldwide media attention. His actions raised awareness of the systemic oppression of People of Color in the U.S., not only in sports but also in society.

Kaepernick, the son of a white American woman and an African American man, was adopted at just five weeks old. This unusual start in life, combined with a strong will he developed during his school years that left a lasting impression on him, led to his strong sense of justice. It is rare for athletes to give up their professional careers to become activists. Kaepernick is an exception. He writes books for children and young people that deal with black identity, is politically active, produces documentaries, founds his own organizations and initiatives, and remains undeterred despite fierce criticism. This commitment pays off, as evidenced by numerous awards and his reputation in society.

"The new era of sports is here, where athletes can drive impact at scale to bring about a more equitable world."

New York Times bestselling author

When five-year-old Colin has to paint a picture of his family at school - himself next to his white adopted family - it has a lasting effect on him. So much so that as an adult he writes the children's book "I Color Myself Different." Published in 2022 by Kaepernick's own publishing house "Kaepernick Publishing" tells the story of a young girl who looks different from her friends. Over time, she learns to be proud of the color of her skin. The book teaches acceptance and self-love, especially to black children and children of color.

The graphic novel "Change the Game," published in 2023, is a continuation of this commitment. The book tells the story of different athletes who overcome obstacles and find their own way to success. It inspires young readers to pursue their dreams, regardless of their background or external circumstances.

Click here for the book

What is Colin Kaepernick doing today?

Kaepernick's contract with the San Francisco 49ers was not extended at the beginning of 2017. He has not yet accepted offers from other leagues, but continues to hope for a return to the NFL. To that end, the quarterback continues to train five to six days a week.

However, he devotes the majority of his time to his social commitment: Kaepernick founded several organizations and companies, is Kaepernick has founded several organizations and companies, is a well-known face in the fight against social injustice and racism, and continues to campaign for equal rights and human rights even after his protest in the NFL.

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Own foundations and organizations

Even though his career as a professional athlete is currently on pause, Colin Kaepernick is not idle: Back in October 2016, he founded the organization "Know Your Rights Camp," which advocates for social justice and offers educational programs for the disadvantaged. With his companies "Kaepernick Media" and "Kaepernick Publishing," he also does educational work on the topics of. issues of racism, identity and justice and gives People of Color a voice.

Know Your Rights

Awards for social commitment

In addition to his own projects, Colin Kaepernick is an Ambassador for Amnesty International's Conscience Award. He has also won numerous awards:

  • In 2016, his own team nominated him for the 49ers' Len Eshmont Award.
  • In 2017, he was named "Citizen of the Year" by GQ, won Sports Illustrated's Muhammad Ali Legacy Award, the ACLU's Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award, and the Puffin Prize for Creative Citizenship from the Puffin Foundation.
  • In 2020, he was awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Organization's Ripple of Hope Award.
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Netflix Documentary "Colin in Black & White"

The six-part Netflix documentary "Colin in Black & White," released in 2021, was produced by Kaepernick himself and won two NAACP Image Awards. It highlights Kaepernick's adolescent years and shows how he had to assert himself as a young man in a predominantly white environment. Kaepernick himself appears in the series as narrator and commentator. 2023 also saw the release of the three-part Kaepernick-produced documentary "Killing County" on Hulu, which focuses on police violence in Bakersfield, California.

Kaepernick, Nike and Ben & Jerry's

Among numerous awards, books and film projects, Kaepernick won an Emmy in 2019 with sports brand Nike for "Dream Crazy," a campaign with the message, "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything."

Ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's will pay tribute to Colin Kaepernick in 2020 with its own variety: the "Change the Whirled" is Kaepernick's vegan lifestyle, and proceeds from its sale will benefit Colin's organization Know Your Rights Camp organization.

Cover Story in Men's Health

"Dear Kaep, thank you. Thank you. Thank you." So begins Pulitzer Prize winner Mitchell S. Jackson's letter to Colin Kaepernick in the Oct. 3, 2023, anniversary issue of Men's Health. The tribute to Kaepernick describes his journey from NFL quarterback to civil rights icon, the challenges and disappointments Kaepernick faced, and pays tribute to his tireless efforts in the fight against racial discrimination and for justice.

About the cover story
Colin Kaepernick in numbers
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Times WAC Offensive Player of the Year
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Rushing yards by quarterback (NFL record)
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USD at auction for Kaepernick jersey
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Colin Kaepernick in numbers
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Times WAC Offensive Player of the Year
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Rushing yards by quarterback (NFL record)
Colin Kaepernick in numbers
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USD at auction for Kaepernick jersey
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Colin Kaepernick in numbers
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Times WAC Offensive Player of the Year
Colin Kaepernick in numbers
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Rushing yards by quarterback (NFL record)
Colin Kaepernick in numbers
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USD at auction for Kaepernick jersey
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More facts about Colin Kaepernick

Birthday:November 3, 1987
Birthplace:Milwaulkie, Wisconsin
Family:Nessa Diab (wife), son born (2022)
Athletic Achievements:2× WAC Offensive Player of the Year, NFL records: most rushing yards by a quarterback in a game and a postseason
Club:San Francisco 49ers (2011-2017)
Height:193 cm
Diet:vegan
Instagram followers:3.5 million
Meet Colin Kaepernick

Want to see Colin Kaepernick live? The activist and football player will be speaking on the Main Stage on the first day of the trade show, November 28. Get your ticket for ISPO Munich 2023 now and meet Colin Kaepernick!

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