Citizen of The Year: Colin Kaepernick Will Not Be Silenced

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-11-13 20:47Z by Steven

Citizen of The Year: Colin Kaepernick Will Not Be Silenced

Gentlemen’s Quarterly (GQ)
2017-11-13

The Editors

He’s been vilified by millions and locked out of the NFL—all because he took a knee to protest police brutality. But Colin Kaepernick’s determined stand puts him in rare company in sports history: Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson—athletes who risked everything to make a difference.

In 2013, Colin Kaepernick was on the cover of this magazine because he was one of the best football players in the world. In 2017, Colin Kaepernick is on GQ’s cover once again—but this time it is because he isn’t playing football. And it’s not because he’s hurt, or because he’s broken any rules, or because he’s not good enough. Approximately 90 men are currently employed as quarterbacks in the NFL, as either starters or reserves, and Colin Kaepernick is better—indisputably, undeniably, flat-out better—than at least 70 of them. He is still, to this day, one of the most gifted quarterbacks on earth. And yet he has been locked out of the game he loves—blackballed—because of one simple gesture: He knelt during the playing of our national anthem. And he did it for a clear reason, one that has been lost in the yearlong storm that followed. He did it to protest systemic oppression and, more specifically, as he said repeatedly at the time, police brutality toward black people.

When we began discussing this GQ cover with Colin earlier this fall, he told us the reason he wanted to participate is that he wants to reclaim the narrative of his protest, which has been hijacked by a president eager to make this moment about himself. But Colin also made it clear to us that he intended to remain silent. As his public identity has begun to shift from football star to embattled activist, he has grown wise to the power of his silence. It has helped his story go around the world. It has even provoked the ire and ill temper of Donald Trump. Why talk now, when your detractors will only twist your words and use them against you? Why speak now, when silence has done so much?

At the same time, Colin is all too aware that silence creates a vacuum, and that if it doesn’t get filled somehow, someone else will fill it for him. In our many conversations with Colin about this project, we discussed the history of athletes and civil rights, and the indelible moments it called to mind, and we decided that we’d use photography—the power of imagery and iconography—to do the talking…

Read the entire article here.

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Why Colin Kaepernick Matters So Much

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, United States on 2017-11-04 19:34Z by Steven

Why Colin Kaepernick Matters So Much

The Nation
2017-11-03

Dave Zirin


Colin Kaepernick on December 24, 2016. (Robert Hanashiro / USA Today via Reuters)

Why has he become a symbol of hope and resistance? It’s complicated.

Some legends are told
Some turn to dust or to gold
But you will remember me
Remember me, for centuries

Last night, my eighth-grader daughter went to see the band Fall Out Boy in concert—no comments on a 13-year-old’s musical tastes, or I will smite you. Behind the band, as they played their hit song “Centuries,” was a massive flat-screen image of Colin Kaepernick.

It’s remarkable to think that just two years ago, when Kaepernick turned 28, he was in the middle of his worst season as a pro, injured and only playing nine games, with his team exploring trade options even though he was just two and a half years removed from being a play away from leading his team to a Super Bowl. (It’s worth noting that even his worst season involved his having a quarterback rating higher than 13 players who have started for teams this season.)

On the day of his 30th birthday, it’s time to retire questions like, “Why does he deserve a spot on a roster?” If you’re still asking that, then I doubt you’ve read this far, but I’ll just say that Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Cam Newton—winners of four of the last seven NFL MVP awards—think he should be on a team, and if you want to disagree with them, have at it…

Read the entire article here.

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The Problem With Football Is Not Colin Kaepernick

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2017-09-29 02:35Z by Steven

The Problem With Football Is Not Colin Kaepernick

Shondaland
2017-09-28

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni


Getty

I was the only girl on my high school’s football team — but I can no longer support the sport.

I was the only girl on my high school’s tackle football team.

I grew up watching my father clap his hands loudly, and yell at the TV during NFL games. I remember sometimes falling asleep to that sweet sound. He knew very little about football when he immigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica in the 1950s for college. He and his roomates were some of the only black people on campus, and they were also on the university’s football team. This is how my dad both learned the joys of black American culture, and developed his deep love of American football.

Eventually he ended up in Washington, D.C., where I was born. My white mom got full custody of my brother and me after our parents’ divorce when we were still young, so I grew up desperate to find ways to connect with my dad. I would try to speak Patois — though he had lost his accent since college to avoid being constantly “otherized.” I would try and learn factoids about the countries he visited in eastern Africa while searching for his roots and for a place with no racial or class oppression. But the single biggest gesture I made to try and gain my father’s love — was to learn to love football…

Read the entire article here.

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The Awakening of Colin Kaepernick

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-09-08 13:53Z by Steven

The Awakening of Colin Kaepernick

The New York Times
2017-09-07

John Branch


Colin Kaepernick may forever be known as the quarterback who knelt for the national anthem before N.F.L. games in 2016 as a protest against social injustice.
Credit Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The standout college quarterback went to the meeting alone that winter night, looking to join. The fraternity brothers at Kappa Alpha Psi, a predominantly black fraternity with a small chapter at the University of Nevada, knew who he was. He was a tall, lean, biracial junior, less than a year from graduating with a business degree.

“When he came and said he had interest in joining the fraternity, I kind of looked at him like, ‘Yeah, O.K.,’” said Olumide Ogundimu, one of the members. “I didn’t take it seriously. I thought: ‘You’re the star quarterback. What are you still missing that you’re looking for membership into our fraternity?’”

His name was Colin Kaepernick, and what he was looking for, Ogundimu and others discovered, was a deeper connection to his own roots and a broader understanding of the lives of others.

Seven years later, now 29, Kaepernick is the most polarizing figure in American sports. Outside of politics, there may be nobody in popular culture at this complex moment so divisive and so galvanizing, so scorned and so appreciated…

‘How Dare You Ask Me Something Like That?’

Turlock is a pleasant and unremarkable place in California’s flat, interior heartland. It is stifling hot in the summer and can be cool and rainy in the winter. Like many sprawling cities of central California, it features suburban-style neighborhoods and strip malls slowly eating the huge expanses of agriculture that surround it. And, like neighboring cities, the population of about 73,000 is overwhelmingly white and increasingly Latino. In Turlock, fewer than 2 percent of residents identify as African-American, according to the census.

Kaepernick moved there when he was 4. He was born in Milwaukee to a single white mother and a black father and quickly placed for adoption. He was soon adopted by Rick and Teresa Kaepernick of Fond du Lac, Wis., who were raising two biological children, Kyle and Devon. They had also lost two infant sons to congenital heart defects.

The family moved to California because Rick Kaepernick took a job as operations manager at the Hilmar Cheese Company, where he later became a vice president.

The boy became used to strangers assuming he was not with the other Kaepernicks. When anyone asked if he was adopted, he would scrunch up his face in mock sadness. “How dare you ask me something like that?” he would reply, and then laugh…

Read the entire article here.

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The NFL’s War Against Colin Kaepernick

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-06-09 01:19Z by Steven

The NFL’s War Against Colin Kaepernick

The Nation
2017-06-08

Dave Zirin


San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick after a victory against the Rams in Los Angeles, California, on December 24, 2016. (Robert Hanashiro, USA Today via Reuters)

Leading media members are carrying on a disinformation campaign against the greatest political lightning rod in sports.

We have heard a farcical parade of excuses by NFL owners and executives for why free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick remains unemployed. “He’s not 100 percent committed.” “He’s more concerned with activism.” “He’s a distraction.” “He will only sign with a team if he starts.” “He wants too much money.” Even, “I am concerned about his conditioning now that he is now a vegetarian” (Real NFL players, if you haven’t heard, floss their teeth with steak gristle and drink testosterone shakes drained fresh from a bull’s balls.)

Their foot-massagers in the media—especially much of the team at Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback page at Sports Illustrated—have dutifully repeated these assertions with metronomic regularity.

Yet as each of these claims has been debunked by journalists actually communicating with Kaepernick and his people, they all continue to be reiterated. In other words, what is happening is a cycle of disinformation, carried out by media members who might as well wear the NFL brand tattooed on the small of their backs…

…The truth is ugly as sin. The NFL is denying Colin Kaepernick employment not because he isn’t “good enough” but because he is being shut out for the crime of using his platform to protest the killing of black kids by police. This makes the league’s right-wing billionaire owners’ silk boxers bunch up…

…Kaepernick’s pariah status is about sending a shot across the bow at every political athlete—particularly black athletes—that they better toe the line. The owners are again sending the message—just like when they tried to “influence” research on the effects of brain injuries in the sport—that the lives of players simply do not matter to the National Football League

Read the entire article here.

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Colin Kaepernick Saw This Coming

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-04-03 02:09Z by Steven

Colin Kaepernick Saw This Coming

Complex
2017-03-30

Dria Roland


Image via USA Today Sports

In pop culture years, 2012 was ages ago. But try to remember. That was the year quarterback Alex Smith suffered a concussion in the first half of the Niners game against the Rams in Week 10, and a backup QB named Colin Kaepernick had to fill in. The game ended in a tie, the NFL’s first in four years. The next week Kaepernick started, and led the team to victory. And even after Smith was declared healthy, Kaepernick continued to start—and to win. A “quarterback controversy” brewed, but coach Harbaugh went with the guy “with the hot hand,” as they say.

With that, a star was born. A second-year, backup QB led the Niners all the way to Super Bowl XLVII, and even though the Ravens came out on top, all people could talk about was Kap. His spread in the ESPN Body Issue made women swoon all around the nation. He signed endorsement deals with Jaguar, Nike, Beats, and Electronic Arts. Feature stories were written about his tattoos, his pet tortoise named Sammy, his being a biracial kid adopted by white parents…

Read the entire article here.

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The NFL has effectively blackballed Colin Kaepernick

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-03-24 18:48Z by Steven

The NFL has effectively blackballed Colin Kaepernick

The Washington Post
2017-03-23

Kevin B. Blackistone, Visiting Professor
Philip Merrill College of Journalism
University of Maryland

A week before Christmas 1996, Craig Hodges, who twice during his 10 NBA seasons was the league’s best three-point shooter, filed a federal lawsuit against the NBA. He charged that the league colluded to end his career four seasons earlier.

Hodges contended the league was upset that he showed up at the White House with Michael Jordan and his other teammates from the 1991 NBA champion Bulls draped in a dashiki — a traditional West African tunic popularized here during the Black Power movement — and exercised utter audacity by presenting their host, President George H.W. Bush, with a two-page letter calling for the plight of people of color and the poor in this country to be prioritized in Bush’s domestic agenda.

A week into 1998, the court dismissed Hodges’s complaint. His career effectively died when the Bulls waived him following their second championship in 1992.

But Hodges’s story was revived with the advent of this NFL offseason’s free agency period. He’s been reincarnated in Colin Kaepernick. To be sure, Kaepernick managed the 17th-best quarterback rating last season among starters while coming back from injury. His touchdown percentage was 13th best, better than Washington’s Kirk Cousins, who wound up in the Pro Bowl and with a new franchise-tag contract worth $24 million next season. His interception percentage was sixth, just behind Aaron Rodgers and just ahead of MVP Matt Ryan

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“As many of you know, I was adopted. As African-Americans in general, it’s often hard to know where our ancestry, where our roots are. As someone that was adopted, for me, it has been even harder.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2016-11-03 01:54Z by Steven

“As many of you know, I was adopted. As African-Americans in general, it’s often hard to know where our ancestry, where our roots are. As someone that was adopted, for me, it has been even harder. All I ever really knew was that I was from Milwaukee, but recently, I took an Ancestry DNA test and discovered that my ancestors are from Ghana and Nigeria. It changed everything for me. It helped me know that my history did not begin with being adopted. It did not begin with slavery. It’s even part of why I wear this Afro now. I’m not going to hide who I am.” —Colin Kaepernick

Shaun King, “KING: Colin Kaepernick’s ‘I Know My Rights Camp’ cements his status as a cultural superhero in the black community,” The New York Daily News, October 29, 2016. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/king-kaepernick-camp-cements-status-black-community-article-1.2850326.

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KING: Colin Kaepernick’s ‘I Know My Rights Camp’ cements his status as a cultural superhero in the black community

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2016-10-30 17:23Z by Steven

KING: Colin Kaepernick’s ‘I Know My Rights Camp’ cements his status as a cultural superhero in the black community

The New York Daily News
2016-10-29

Shaun King


Daily News columnist Shaun King, his son, and Colin Kaepernick pose for picture after Kaepernick’s camp. (Shaun King/New York Daily News)

“Dad. Does Colin still have a game on Sunday?”

The question was a smart one for any football fan to ask – particularly one who’s rooting hard for Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers.

It was 12:49 a.m. in Oakland late Friday night. My 10- year-old son, EZ, and I, made the trek there from New York and we were dragging. For our bodies it felt like 4 a.m.

We were invited by Kaepernick to attend a camp on Saturday morning and I had just gotten a text from Colin.

It read, “Hey Shaun. I just wanted to check and make sure you and your son made it safe my brother.”

I replied, “Thanks man. Just now checking in at the hotel. We took a late flight. See you soon bro.”

And his reply was what shocked my son and I both…

Read the entire article here.

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Where did Colin Kaepernick get start as an activist?

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2016-10-22 22:35Z by Steven

Where did Colin Kaepernick get start as an activist?

USA TODAY
2016-09-30

Josh Peter

They remember the conservative haircut he wore at John Pitman High School, and now they see the Afro and cornrows. They remember his studious and soft-spoken ways from a decade ago, and now they see him refusing to stand for the national anthem and agitating for social change.

In Turlock, Calif., where Colin Kaepernick was raised, many residents have asked some version of the same question: What in the heck happened to our hometown hero?

But those who knew Kaepernick at the University of Nevada at Reno, where attended from 2006-10 and was a star quarterback before getting drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 2011, say they’re not at all confused.

“Anyone who wants to characterize this as some new black awareness on his behalf just simply doesn’t know him or didn’t do the diligence,’’ Reg Stewart, director of the Center for Student Cultural Diversity at Nevada-Reno when Kaepernick was in school, told USA TODAY Sports. “It’s not like I turned on the TV and was like, ‘Wow, where did this come from?’ I was like, ‘You know what, he has been thinking about these issues for at least the time I’ve known him.”…

…At the black student union meetings at Nevada-Reno, Kaepernick was outspoken about issues such as attracting more African Americans to the campus, Bart-Plange said.

“He would let us know, we’ve got to get everybody unified,” Bart-Plange said. “The only way we’re going to get better is together, that’s how we’re stronger, power in numbers, educating each other.”

Kaepernick’s increasing identification as African American began as soon as he arrived at Reno, according to Stewart. African Americans made up about 4% of the student body, but Stewart suggested the university’s cultural diversity center gave Kaepernick an outlet to find his identity as an African American…

Read the entire article here.

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