Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick memoir will address anthem protest, release in 2020

kapfistap.jpg
AP

Colin Kaepernick memoir will address anthem protest, release in 2020

Colin Kaepernick plans to tell all. 

The former 49ers quarterback announced Thursday he is writing a memoir, set to be released later this year through his newly formed publishing company, Kaepernick Publishing. 

“I’ve had a lot of questions surrounding what got me to the point of protesting," he told USA Today's Jarrett Bell on Thursday. "Why did I do it? Why did I do it at that moment? Why wasn’t it earlier in my career? A lot of questions surrounding what led me to that point. Which led me to wanting to share that story and give insight. So I think there’s a lot of interest around it, but time will tell when the book comes out.”

Kaepernick, 32, has not played in the NFL since opting out of his contract with the 49ers in 2017 once Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch took over as San Francisco's coach and general manager, respectively. In the 2016 season, Kaepernick first sat -- then later kneeled, after consulting with former Green Beret Nate Boyer -- during the playing of the national anthem before games in an effort to protest police brutality against African Americans and systemic oppression. 

The QB, who led the 49ers to appearances in the Super Bowl and NFC Championship Game in back-to-back seasons in 2012 and 2013, faced criticism from some of his peers and politicians, including from Donald Trump in the lead-up to his presidential election in 2016, for "not respecting" the American flag or the country's veterans. Kaepernick, however, insisted his protest was not directed at American servicemembers. 

Many athletes, including then-49ers teammate Eric Reid and American soccer star Megan Rapinoe, joined Kaepernick in his protest in 2016. Some 49ers continued to kneel during the 2017 season while Kaepernick remained a free agent, and Vice President Mike Pence staged a highly publicized walk-out when 23 San Francisco players kneeled before the 49ers' Oct. 8, 2017 game against the Indianapolis Colts. 

Kaepernick, suspecting he was black-balled by NFL owners who didn't want to sign him because of his protest, settled a collusion lawsuit with the league last February. The NFL organized a workout in Atlanta for Kaepernick in November, but he moved the workout to another location after the league denied media access and requested that Kaepernick sign a liability waiver that his attorneys deemed "unusual." 

The 32-year-old insisted Thursday that he still wants to play, nearly four years after he took his last snap. 

“My desire to play football is still there,” Kaepernick told Bell. “I still train five days a week. I’m ready to go, I’m ready for a phone call, tryout, workout at any point in time. I’m still waiting on the owners and their partners to stop running from this situation. So I hope I get a call this offseason. I’ll be looking forward to it.”

[RELATED: 49ers' Richburg chomping at the bit to get to work for 2020]

Kaepernick told Bell that "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" was "a book that changed my life," and he wanted to channel his lifelong interest in literature into "ownership over my story." He plans on releasing an audiobook of his memoir through Audible, where he'll also content from other authors under his publishing house. Kaepernick said he's driven to give writers of color a chance to control their narratives, too. 

“It’s not just my control over stories,” Kaepernick said. “We wanted to be able to put the power back into the hands of the people that are telling the stories and the people that are writing the stories and creating them. We didn’t want to monopolize that and hold that to ourselves. It’s something that should be distributed to the people who are putting in the work to be able to tell their stories and tell them in a genuine and authentic way." 

Why Colin Kaepernick isn't playing in new XFL, according to Oliver Luck

kaepxflap.jpg
AP

Why Colin Kaepernick isn't playing in new XFL, according to Oliver Luck

The game looks familiar, even if the players aren't.

The 49ers' loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV marked the conclusion of the NFL season, but not football altogether. Within the week, the XFL returned from a two-decade absence, as Saturday marked the beginning of the league's reincarnation.

The XFL of 2020 is not what it was back in 2001. Player nicknames no longer appear on jersey nameplates, and there is more of a focus on the actual game itself. Still, there are many unique elements that serve to differentiate the XFL from the NFL, and from a financial perspective, the league believes it's now much more viable than it was back in 2001, when it folded after just a single season. XFL commissioner Oliver -- and father of former Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew -- Luck offered three explanations as to why he feels that way when speaking with NPR's Michel Martin on Saturday, including better funding, exposure and players.

The XFL approached former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick about joining and starring in the new league, but according to Luck, Kaepernick's salary demands ruled out that possibility.

"We gave it some thought," Luck told Martin. "We have some pretty significant salary restrictions, you know. We're a start-up league, so we want to make sure that we can be fiscally responsible and fiscally prudent. And the, you know, salary requirements that some folks, you know, shared with us were in our case exorbitant, so we, you know, couldn't go down that path."

"We spoke with his representative," Luck continued, "and the salary requirements that were broached in that conversation were exorbitant and certainly out of our range."

When asked if the XFL would reconsider its stance on Kaepernick if he lowered his salary demands, Luck was noncommittal.

"I don't know," Luck said. "That was well over a year ago, so I don't know what kind of shape, you know, Colin is in. And, you know, we haven't followed that because obviously, again, we want the best players who are interested in playing in our league. That's, you know, pretty much a requisite for our job."

[RELATED: How Kap, coach moves defined 49ers' up-and-down decade]

While no one could blame the XFL for trying to be fiscally responsible, Luck's last comment seemed unrelated to any financial hurdles associated with bringing Kaepernick into the fold. The XFL requires all of its players to stand for the national anthem, and Luck sure doesn't sound like he supports Kaepernick's chosen methods of protest in the past.

"Players have numerous opportunities to express themselves with all the platforms that exist today," Luck said. "So, you know, standing for the national anthem we believe is a part of their responsibility as players in our league. But we think it's important to have that -- you know, that requirement for our players."

When pressed as to why Luck feels it's important to have that requirement, he doubled down on generalizations.

"We think it's important. We think it's part of what we as a league should do."

If the XFL can't afford Kaepernick, then his absence from the league is simply the result of financial prudence. But if Kaepernick's social reputation is figuring into it and causing the XFL to avoid such a partnership, it sure seems like a gigantic missed opportunity. If anything, one would think the XFL should be leaning into all of the different ways it could distinguish itself from its much larger, much more established competitor.

Jed York reflects on 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo trade before Super Bowl 54

Jed York reflects on 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo trade before Super Bowl 54

SANTA CLARA -- 49ers CEO Jed York in 2017 was looking for an offensive-minded head coach who could get the most out of his quarterback.

But when the 49ers hired coach Kyle Shanahan, the organization did not have any quarterbacks under contract at the time free agency began.

General manager John Lynch and Shanahan informed Colin Kaepernick he did not fit the team’s offensive plan and would be released, so Kaepernick opted out of his contract. The 49ers had no interest in re-signing Blaine Gabbert, either.

Instead, the 49ers signed Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley at the start of free agency. C.J. Beathard was drafted, and Nick Mullens signed as an undrafted rookie.

But the 49ers did not add the quarterback they knew would be their answer until the middle of the 2017 season when New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick offered QB Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers for just a second-round draft pick.

“When we made the trade in the middle of the season, Kyle was probably the most conservative with it,” York said. “Everybody from Mandy Shanahan (Kyle’s wife) to all our fans were ready for him to start Day 1.

“But we had to make sure that we did it the right way. And we didn’t do something just because it was going to get the fans fired up. We wanted to put Jimmy in the right situation to be successful.”

York said Shanahan told Garoppolo he might not take a snap in a game for the rest of the season, as Garoppolo had to learn at least the basics of the offense. Shanahan told Garoppolo that he was not on an audition.

Garoppolo was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and the club was going to, at least, put the franchise tag on him for more than $23 million to keep him around for the 2018 season.

[RELATEDHow Shanahan, Lynch make 49ers CEO York's job easier]

Garoppolo got his first chance to start in Week 13, and it began a remarkable stretch of success for the 49ers. The club began the season 0-9, and after five consecutive victories with Garoppolo as the starter to finish the season, the 49ers finished at 6-10.

Five weeks later, York signed off on a five-year, $137.5 million contract for Garoppolo. The 49ers got little return on that investment in 2018 when Garoppolo sustained a torn ACL in Week 3.

This season, Garoppolo flourished as a starter in all 18 games en route to Super Bowl LIV against the Kansas City Chiefs next Sunday in Miami.

Garoppolo earned immediate trust and confidence from his teammates and the entire organization since his arrival in Santa Clara, and he has done nothing to give anyone in the organization reasons to doubt him ever since.

[RELATED: How Jimmy G's impact on 49ers goes beyond the numbers]

“If you don’t have a quarterback who can win in big games and big moments, it’s really, really hard to get to this point,” York said. “And Jimmy, obviously, exceeded any expectations in those games that you could ever ask for a player coming into an organization.

“And he’s continued to improve, he’s continued to work, he’s continued to get better. If you don’t have a quarterback, to me, you just don’t have a chance. It was a must.”