Colin Kaepernick appeared in just 69 games in his NFL career. He participated in one Super Bowl, and then his career fizzled out over the next four years. Despite this, he’s arguably more popular now than ever thanks to his anthem protests and ensuing activism.
Still out of the NFL, Kaepernick remains in the public eye thanks to his work off the field. A return to the NFL is questionable; either way, he’s a busy man.
Colin Kaepernick takes the field
Kaepernick began at Nevada, where he became one of the best young quarterbacks in college football. His arm was nothing spectacular, but his footspeed made up for it while he rose to the top. By the time that the 2011 NFL draft came along, Kaepernick was good enough for the San Francisco 49ers to take a chance on him despite a still-improving Alex Smith being the face of the franchise.
Waiting for a chance that hardly came, Kaepernick only appeared sporadically during his rookie season, throwing just five passes in three games as a special option. The offense was still Smith’s, and when the 2012 season started, that appeared to be the case going forward.
Kaepernick watched the team from the sidelines while Smith led them to one of their best starts in years. But when he went down with an injury, the team looked toward Kaepernick. The second-year quarterback stunned the crowd immediately when he took over for the team. His footspeed mesmerized defenses.
With little preparation for a quarterback of his unique skill set, the 49ers continued rolling over the competition. They made it to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the Baltimore Ravens despite a valiant comeback effort.
While the team remained in contention for the 2013 season, Kaepernick failed to reach the hype he had the previous years. He remained with the team for several more years but had diminishing returns with each one. However, by the end of his career, his performance in the game was secondary to his pregame antics.
Kaepernick takes a knee
During the 2016 season, Kaepernick began to get headlines, not for his diminishing play but also for sitting during the national anthem. While it wasn’t immediately noticed, Kaepernick was asked about the gesture after the game. He stated his reasoning succinctly.
“I am not looking for approval,” Kaepernick said per The Undefeated). “I have to stand up for people that are oppressed.”
Speaking up against rampant police brutality, Kaepernick continued the protests throughout the season. However, after meeting with an ex-Green Beret named Nate Boyer, who made headlines as a 29-year-old college snapper at the University of Texas, Kaepernick changed his protest style by taking a knee per Boyer’s request, details the LA Times.
While Kaepernick meant for the new protest to respect the armed forces while continuing his protest, the backlash continued, and by 2017, Kaepernick remained unsigned. He remained so until today. In the years since, Kaepernick focused on activism, even getting an endorsement deal from Nike in 2018. Depending on who was asked, he was an activist icon or a troublemaker, and that division remains until today despite backhanded attempts at signing him.
What is Colin Kaepernick doing now?
Kaepernick remains an activist to this very day. While the recent protests that sprung up across America saw the NFL do an about-face when it comes to social justice, the quarterback remains unsigned. While Kaepernick had a workout in 2019 with several NFL teams, many still feel like the entire NFL is blackballing him.
Instead of waiting for a new job in the NFL, however, Kaepernick remains busy, details CBS Sports. He’s putting his money where his mouth is and supporting causes around the world. Furthermore, he recently got bitten by the writing bug. He joined the board of directors at the popular blogging platform Medium and is preparing a memoir about his career on and off the field. He also opened up his own publishing company to print socially-conscious literature for the masses.
Kaepernick may want to work in the NFL again. Still, if he never throws another football, he will likely remain in the public eye as social justice weighs more substantial and heavier on people, Kaepernick’s perception shifts from malcontent to hero. Whether or not he returns to the field, his place in history will last forever.