NFL free agency is open for the 2022 season and the annual videos of Colin Kaepernick being in the best shape of his life surface yet again, asking the question “is it time for Colin to come back and if so where does he fit?” Aside from the fact that the man can throw a cotton ball on the roof, it’s almost as if his contribution to the game of football was merely a favor from the 30 other teams he beat out to make it to the Super Bowl in 2013. Any athlete that was considered to be at the top of their field, or even a “pretty good” player, could understand Kaepernick’s yearning to get back to work at the age of 34. Kaepernick’s last NFL snaps were back in 2017 when he still was in the middle of his athletic prime.
Allow me to try and paint you the picture.
Imagine you were given a gift, a gift that only a handful of humans are given. One day while you’re using this gift you notice that a few people who also have gifts are getting theirs revoked for a variety of reasons that don’t make sense. Reasons like: wearing a hood while eating skittles, playing with a toy, sleeping in a car, sleeping in a house, or even just existing in a certain place at a certain time. You can clearly see that some people are allowed to do whatever they wish and keep their gift, but the few that get their gifts revoked aren’t really able to question why or challenge the method to that madness without repercussions, which could risk their gift being removed as well.
So now, the camera pans back to you, able to move freely without cause, watching those who aren’t allowed to move at all. You then extend a helping hand from your place on top of society to show everyone that these few aren’t being given equal chances to merely exist and then BOOM, the hammer gets dropped on you. They took your gift and diminish the accomplishments you achieved while using it. Now the fight begins.
Enter Colin Kaepernick. A gifted individual, still fully capable of using his athletic gift that remains on the shelf with years of production remaining. I or anyone could expand for hours on his athletic achievements, but let’s take a look at Colin Kaepernick using his gift as a humanitarian. Aside from forfeiting most, if not the remainder, of his career as an NFL quarterback, Colin has leapt over multiple hurdles while carrying others with him in efforts to run the race for others across the world who don’t, and won’t, have the platform that he has.
He’s gone from donating his own shoes and contributing money for those in need, to winning a plethora of awards and accolades such as: Sports Illustrated’s Muhammad Ali Legacy Award, The Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship, ACLU’s Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award, The W.E.B. Du Bois Medal from Harvard University’s Hutchins Center, and the Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award. Kaepernick was also awarded the Len Eshmont award by his peers. Colin continues to be a role-model not only for those speaking out, but also acting on behalf of himself and others who may not have a voice to speak.
Since his excommunication from the NFL, Colin has fought just as hard off the field as he did on it to continue evening the odds. From a Super Bowl contending NFL quarterback, to becoming a global representation for fighting the power, Colin Kaepernick has inspired a generation of athletes who make it clear they are still PEOPLE first. People who can’t unsee the injustices of those around them regardless of how many dollar signs are put in their face. People watching others that look just like them struggling to survive in the same environment they were once in and fought their way out.
We’ve all seen Colin lead a team on football Sunday’s, but few have acknowledged how he’s led the world to address some pretty important questions. Can Colin still put on a show every Sunday? Of course. Are there currently 32 Quarterbacks in the NFL better than him? Definitely not. Will he ever play again? Doesn’t seem likely. Will that stop him from being a quarterback figure that leads a team to greatness? Absolutely not.
Malcolm Anderson | Malcolm Anderson is a Cum Laude graduate of Reinhardt University. From the beginning of his education, the ideas of creativity and ever-expanding curiosity were instilled in him. He loves working with children and helping them believe that they can do anything they put their mind to, a lesson he was taught from an early age. Although his focus is on Sports Media, Malcolm has been writing for various mediums over the past few years and aims to expand his repertoire in an effort to reach as many people as possible.