Unless you’re a diehard football fan, there’s a huge chance that you had no idea who Colin Kaepernick was until last year. So before getting into why he’s become one of our cultural heroes, a few stats.Colin is a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. He’s biracial (black father and white mother). He’s adopted (raised by white parents). He’s been playing football since he was 8, held a 4.0 in high school, is Christian and was on the 49ers team when they won the Super Bowl in 2014 (he also won the Most Valuable Player at the Humanitarian Bowl in 2008).
All in all, impressive. But outside of sports, Colin didn’t start to become a household name until 2016 when he started a quiet---yet pretty obvious---protest by refusing to stand during the national anthem. Instead, he kneeled. Why? According to him, it was in response to the racial oppression and police brutality going on in the country.
Dig a little deeper and the history behind the national anthem itself comes with its own controversy (click here to read more), and if you read online at all, you know that Colin had a rough few weeks. One vendor even sold "Wanted: Notorious Disgrace to America" with a picture of Colin’s face on it and many people across the nation wanted him to be fired.
Still he kneeled and it wasn’t long before other players---in the NFL and even college and high school teams----took his lead (strength in numbers, indeed). And while Colin would probably be the first one to say that his “stance to kneel” wasn’t easy, his teammates took note and in December, they honored him with the Len Eshmont Award for inspiration and courage.
Colin is still super-active in his community. He recently made headlines by donating his massive shoe collection to Bay Area homeless shelters. He also donated $50,000 to the University of California San Francisco’s Mni Wiconi Health Clinic Partnership at Standing Rock, in North Dakota.
Sometimes people cross our paths---whether in person or online---to inspire us to do more. To be better. And courage? In order to accomplish great things in life, courage is necessary. If you, like Colin, want to do bigger things for the better, here’s how you can do it.