Colin Kaepernick sacrificed his NFL career by taking a knee. But in doing so, he stood up for what he believed in. Nowadays, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback makes headlines not for throwing touchdown passes or winning football games.
Instead, he’s taken on a more powerful role as an activist and social justice leader. And through his Know Your Rights Camp, he’s making a major difference for protestors.
Colin Kaepernick’s journey from NFL star to the face of social justice
Younger football fans may not even know Colin Kaepernick the NFL quarterback. Sadly, the longer time passes, the more the memories of him lighting up NFL defenses fades. Though he correctly predicted he’d be a 49er someday, Kaepernick certainly couldn’t have imagined his football career ending in such swift fashion.
Before he peacefully took a knee to protest police brutality, Kaepernick dazzled on Sundays. As a pure passer, he never looked like Tom Brady. But he boasted a devastatingly diverse skill set that made him one of the more promising young quarterbacks in the league.
Of course, even after establishing a reputation as a playmaking force, Kaepernick’s refusal to stay silent cost him his career. His last NFL game came all the way back in January 2017. Since then, he’s never earned a second contract. His name has been loosely connected to a few franchises, but not a single owner has signed off on bringing in the former 49ers star.
That hasn’t stopped Kaepernick from utilizing his platform to affect change. He and his partner Nessa set up the Know Your Rights Camp in 2016. The organization helps provide legal assistance to people in need. Recently, the foundation stepped up in a major way to help a group of protestors in Minnesota.
Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp is helping protestors with legal costs
Some celebrities and people in power talk the talk. Not all of them walk the walk. But in the case of Colin Kaepernick, he’s putting his money where his mouth is.
Stephen Montemayor of the Star Tribune reported that the Know Your Rights Camp donated “a substantial sum” to attorneys in Minnesota and other places to help defend protestors. Of course, the story of why the protestors even face legal action can’t be overlooked.
According to the story, Melody Hubertus went to provide aid to people gathered near her home in Minneapolis in the wake of the George Floyd protests. What happened next to the 22-year-old is shocking.
Moments later, Hubertus was hit by a rubber bullet, she said. Her knee throbbing with pain, she crumpled behind a car before becoming one of more than 60 people arrested and charged with violating the curfew in Hennepin County.
Those who have been charged with violating the curfew face fines up to $1,000 or 90 days in jail. However, Hubertus, along with many others, will benefit from the financial support from Kaepernick’s organization. Ryan Garry, her attorney, will seek to dismiss all cases like Hubertus’s due to a First Amendment violation.
“We’re in it for the end game,” he said. “We’re not going to court to just simply plead out. We’re doing this because these folks had a right to protest and the government is punishing them for exercising their constitutional right to free speech.”
What does the future have in store for the former 49ers QB?
As Colin Kaepernick continues to make a difference in the world, nobody knows exactly what his football future holds. Will an NFL team finally give him a chance to prove he belongs in a league that employs some truly awful backup quarterbacks? Or is the potential PR nightmare too risky for an owner to take on?
Kaepernick has missed three full seasons, so it’s fair to wonder whether he could pick up where he left off. And with the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, it could be extremely difficult to grasp a new offense with limited practice time.
Perhaps a strong owner like Robert Kraft would give his stamp of approval on bringing in the former dual-threat star. Bill Belichick certainly could use a more inspiring veteran option than Brian Hoyer. Ultimately, though, even if Colin Kaepernick never plays in the NFL again, he can sleep soundly knowing he’s changing the world one day at a time.