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Tue, 04.21.2020

Colin Kaepernick, Football Player, and Activist born

*Colin Kaepernick was born on this date in 1987.  He is a Black civil rights activist and American football (NFL) quarterback, a retired free agent, and unemployed.  

Colin Rand Kaepernick was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Heidi Russo, who is white.  His father, African American, separated from Russo before Kaepernick was born.  Russo placed him up for adoption with a white couple named Rick and Teresa Kaepernick. The couple had two older children: son Kyle and daughter Devon. Kaepernick decided to adopt a boy after losing two sons to heart defects.  

Kaepernick lived in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, until age four, when his family moved to California. Kaepernick began playing youth football as a defensive end and punter when he was eight. A 4.0 GPA student at John H. Pitman High School in Turlock, California, Kaepernick played football, basketball, and baseball and was nominated for all-state selection in all three sports his senior year. He was the most valuable player (MVP) of the Central California Conference in football, leading his school to its first-ever playoff victory. In basketball, he was a first-team All-CCC selection at forward.  

Kaepernick played college football for the University of Nevada, where he was named the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Offensive Player of the Year twice and became the only player in NCAA Division I FBS history to amass 10,000 passing yards and 4,000 rushing yards in a career. After graduating, he was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the second round of the 2011 National Football League Draft. Kaepernick began his professional football career as a backup quarterback to Alex Smith and became the 49ers' starter in the middle of the 2012 season after Smith suffered a concussion.

He then remained the team's starting quarterback for the rest of the season, leading the team to their first Super Bowl appearance since 1994. During the 2013 season, his first full season as a starter, Kaepernick helped the 49ers reach the NFC Championship Game. Over the next three seasons, Kaepernick lost and won back his starting job, with the 49ers missing the playoffs for three years consecutively.  

In the 49ers' third preseason game in 2016, Kaepernick sat while playing the U.S. national anthem before the game rather than stand as is customary, as a protest against racial injustice and systematic oppression in America. Kaepernick kneeled during the anthem the following week and throughout the regular season. The protests received highly polarized reactions, with some praising him and his stand against racism and others denouncing the protests as disrespectful to the armed forces.

The actions resulted in a broader protest movement, which intensified in September 2017 after President Donald Trump said that NFL owners should "fire" players who protest the national anthem. Kaepernick became a free agent after the season but went unsigned.  In November 2017, he filed a grievance against the NFL and its owners, accusing them of colluding to keep him out of the league. Kaepernick withdrew the grievance in February 2019 after reaching a confidential settlement with the NFL.  He played for the San Francisco 49ers in the National Football League (NFL) for six seasons as a civil rights activist, best known for kneeling during the national anthem in protest of alleged police brutality and racial inequality in the United States.  

Kaepernick has received the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award, ACLU’s Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award, and The W.E.B. Du Bois Medal from Harvard University’s Hutchins Center Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship.  In 2018 he received Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award and was awarded the Len Eshmont by his NFL teammates.  In 2020 he donated $100,000.00 to a covid-19 relief fund.

In 2021 and 2022, Kaepernick attempted to play professionally with tryouts in Michigan and Las Vegas with mixed results.

To become a Professional Athlete

To Become a Social Worker

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