Colin Kaepernick is not letting his critics, including President Donald Trump, define him. Kaepernick has been making good on his plan to donate $1 million and all the proceeds from his jersey sales from the 2016 NFL season to charities. From October 2016 to June 2017, he has donated $900,000 to 31 organizations.
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback announced Wednesday on Twitter that over the next 10 days, he will give $10,000 a day to a charity of his choice for the final $100,000 of his $1 million pledge. Each organization picked will receive an additional $10,000 from a celebrity.
Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry will match Kaepernick’s $10,000 donation to United Playaz, a San Francisco-based charity. The organization prepares at-risk youth for higher education, employment and healthy living.
Kaepernick posted a video Friday on Twitter to thank Curry:
Thank you @stephencurry30 for going #10for10 & matching my $10k donation to United Playaz in SF for a total of $20k for them! My brother Steph, your selflessness on the court extends off the court. Thank you. See the details https://t.co/xr8M9wiOiq! #MillionDollarPledge pic.twitter.com/1gAhIP7RAw
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) January 19, 2018
Curry’s teammate, Kevin Durant, matched Kaepernick’s donation of $10,000 to De-Bug, which describes itself as “a story-telling, community organizing, and advocacy organization.” Actor Jesse Williams donated $10,000 to Advancement Project, “a next generation, multi-racial civil rights organization,” according to its website.
Kaepernick, 29, now a free agent, began sitting during the national anthem in the 2016 NFL preseason to call attention to police brutality against Blacks. The police-related death of Philando Castile on July 6, 2016, profoundly affected Kaepernick to the point that he was willing to raise awareness to racist injustice in law enforcement at the expense of his own career. And the police-related death of Patrick Harmon, 50, last year on Aug. 13, further illustrates why NFL players protest.
WARNING: Video contains sensitive material.
— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@MuslimIQ) October 5, 2017
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said in August 2016. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
It was actually former Seahawks player and Green Beret Nate Boyer who suggested to the quarterback to “take a knee,” rather than sit, as he said it was more respectful.
Boyer wrote an open letter to Kaepernick in the Army Times, which caused the two athletes to meet and discuss America and honoring the anthem.
Kaepernick Not Signed by NFL Teams
In March, Kaepernick opted out of his deal with the 49ers to become a restricted free agent. He gave up the $14.5 million in injury guarantees in exchange for a shot at the open market sooner, according to NBC Sports. No NFL team has hired Kaepernick, who in 2012 led the 49ers to the Super Bowl.
In October, he filed a grievance under the latest collective bargaining agreement against NFL owners for collusion.
“The filing, which demands an arbitration hearing on the matter, says the NFL and its owners ‘have colluded to deprive Mr. Kaepernick of employment rights in retaliation for Mr. Kaepernick’s leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice and his bringing awareness to peculiar institutions still undermining racial equality in the United States,’” according to ESPN.
Earlier this month, proceedings began in Kaepernick’s right-to-work lawsuit. Trump has actually taken credit for the football player not being hired.
At a rally in March in Kentucky to promote the Republican Party’s answer to the Affordable Care Act, Trump referenced a report, “Colin Kaepernick Sentenced to NFL Limbo for the Crime of Speaking His Mind.”
“There was an article today, it was reported, that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump,” the president said.
“I said, ‘If I remember that one I’m gonna report it to the people of Kentucky — because they like it when people actually stand for the American flag.’”
Meanwhile, Kaepernick was making a $50,000 donation to Meals on Wheels in response to the White House releasing a proposed budget that could lead to a big drop in funding for the organization.
Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, 83, has come to Kaepernick’s defense, calling it a “raw deal” that he remains unsigned.
“I think he’s getting a raw deal,” Aaron said.
“I think he’s getting a raw deal,” Aaron said in an interview with TV One in August. “I’ve been watching pro ball for a long time, and I think that if you look at all of the quarterbacks in the league right now … I don’t think anybody can do the things [Kaepernick] can do.
“I just wish somebody would open up and give him a chance to do his thing.”
In 2017, Trump continued to press NFL owners to fire players who kneel during the national anthem. During a rally in Alabama in September, he used vulgar language to refer to them.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now,’” Trump said. “Out! He’s fired.”
At a DiversityInc event in September, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. rebuked Trump’s comments.
“Trump comes and says to ‘fire the son of a bitch,’ Jackson said. “Black mothers are not bitches, they’re queens who produce champions. They’re not bitches who produce thugs.”
The 83-year-old civil rights activist opened a new account in pursuit of social justice.
NBA Hall of Famer and civil rights activist Bill Russell, 83, created a Twitter page at the end of September. He did so to post a photo of himself taking a knee in support of NFL players protesting.
From sports legends to those still making a mark in professional sports, including the Celtics’ Jaylen Brown, many have commended Kaepernick’s actions.
“For Colin to put his career on the line, and sacrifice himself, was amazing,” Brown said in an interview this month. “But Colin was fed up with the police brutality and pure racism. He speaks for many people in this country — including me.”
Sports Illustrated “just turned Muhammad Ali's Legacy Award into toilet paper," a Fox News contributor said of Kaepernick being honored.
Kaepernick received Sports Illustrated’s Muhammad Ali Legacy Award last month.
“The footprints he leaves are large,” Kaepernick said of Ali, “and his life is and has been a multi-textured tapestry that is rich in love, wisdom, life lessons and human kindness.
“I can only hope that I’m taking steps toward walking on the footsteps that he has left behind for the world to follow.”