Colin Kaepernick

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New Raven Calais Campbell sees true meaning behind Kaepernick kneeling

New Raven Calais Campbell sees true meaning behind Kaepernick kneeling

Over the last month, America has been having a long-overdue conversation about race, justice and equality in our society. At NBC Sports Washington, we wanted to further the dialogue by providing a forum for DMV-area sports figures who are thought leaders on these important issues.

NBC Sports Washington is launching the third part of an ongoing video series entitled Race in America. This week, Calais Campbell joined Chris Miller for the last of these roundtable discussions to share his experiences, thoughts and how they’re using their platforms in this fight. To watch the full interview, click here.

When Colin Kaepernick first took a knee in 2016, society certainly noticed. From players to politicians, everyone has an opinion on the very public protest. However at times, it seemed like some misunderstood Kaepernick’s intended message, but not 12-year NFL veteran Calais Campbell.

“Without a doubt, I knew from the first time he took a knee, when I heard him speak, that it was about police brutality and oppression,” Campbell told Chris Miller during a recent ‘Race in America’ roundtable. “To me it was never about the flag, and I feel like people started talking about it being about disrespect to the flag was distracting what the real message was.”

RACE IN AMERICA: WATCH THE FULL ROUNDTABLE HERE

Campbell, who was traded to the Baltimore Ravens this offseason, won the 2019 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award for demonstrating both outstanding community service and excellence on the field. A defensive captain for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2019, Campbell has never been afraid to lead both on and off the field. The 5-time Pro Bowl defensive end felt the need to lead his teammates once again with scrutiny of pregame protests still grabbing headlines.

“Everybody knew the backlash: if you knee it was going to be tough, and the problem was is that not enough of us had courage to knee,” Campbell said. “I did knee one time, because I wanted to show my teammates that it was ok because there were a lot of guys who wanted to knee but they were scared. I knew I was in a better position where I wouldn’t probably get cut for kneeing, so I took a knee one time.”

RELATED: ROBERT GRIFFIN III ON STEREOTYPES FACING BLACK NFL QUARTERBACKS

Campbell has built a reputation for giving back to the community while using his platform to truly make a difference, something he feels Kaepernick did back in 2016.

“He really put himself on a pedestal and said, ‘I’m going to sacrifice myself for the greater good of all people,’” Campbell said of Kaepernick. “As Black people in America throughout our history, there has been so much oppression, so much brutality that people are like, ‘Yeah, well you have it better than it used to be. You shouldn’t complain so much because it’s a lot better than it used to be.’ It’s like well nah, I mean it’s still bad!”

To watch the full roundtable discussion, featuring Campbell, Robert Griffin III and Mike London, click here.

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Colin Kaepernick reaches production deal with Disney, will be featured in ESPN documentary series

Colin Kaepernick reaches production deal with Disney, will be featured in ESPN documentary series

Colin Kaepernick will be featured in a documentary series produced by ESPN Films as part of a first-look deal with The Walt Disney Co.

The deal between Kaepernick's production arm, Ra Vision Media, and The Walt Disney Co. was announced Monday. The partnership will focus on telling scripted and unscripted stories that explore race, social injustice and the quest for equity. It also will provide a platform to showcase the work of directors and producers of color.

"I am excited to announce this historic partnership with Disney across all of its platforms to elevate Black and Brown directors, creators, storytellers, and producers, and to inspire the youth with compelling and authentic perspectives," Kaepernick said in a statement. "I look forward to sharing the docuseries on my life story, in addition to many other culturally impactful projects we are developing."

Despite being exiled from the NFL since the 2016 season when he took a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality, Kaepernick still wants to play.

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A person close to the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback told The Associated Press that Kaepernick is in excellent shape and ready to play but hasn't received any calls.

Following the nationwide protests in the aftermath of George Floyd's death, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell apologized to players for not listening to them earlier, encouraged them to protest peacefully and denounced racism.

Kaepernick, who became the face of a Nike campaign in 2018, will work closely with The Undefeated, which is expanding its portfolio across Disney, to develop stories from the perspective of communities of color.

His deal with The Walt Disney Co. will extend across all Disney platforms, including Walt Disney Television, ESPN, Hulu, Pixar and The Undefeated.

"During this unprecedented time, The Walt Disney Co. remains committed to creating diverse and inclusive content that resonates and matters," said Bob Iger, Disney's executive chairman. "Colin's experience gives him a unique perspective on the intersection of sports, culture and race, which will undoubtedly create compelling stories that will educate, enlighten and entertain, and we look forward to working with him on this important collaboration."

The docuseries chronicling Kaepernick's journey and his last five years is the first project in development.

"Developing exceptional storytelling told through a wide array of voices is at the core of who we are at ESPN," ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said. "Colin has had a singular path as both an athlete and an activist, and, as the nation continues to confront racism and social injustice, it feels particularly relevant to hear Colin's voice on his evolution and motivations."

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Colin Kaepernick's story to be told in 6-part Netflix series produced by Ava DuVernay

Colin Kaepernick's story to be told in 6-part Netflix series produced by Ava DuVernay

Netflix is currently working on a 6-part series focused on former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the streaming service announced in a release on Monday.

The series, entitled “Colin in Black and White,” will focus on Kaepernick’s teenage years and how that time helped shape his world views in today’s society. Kaepernick will appear as a narrator for this scripted series, which will be produced by noted director Ava DuVernay. 

RELATED: RAVENS OC SAYS HE'S ALWAYS ROOTING FOR KAEPERNICK

“Too often we see race and Black stories portrayed through a white lens,” Kaepernick said in a statement. “We seek to give new perspective to the differing realities that Black people face. We explore the racial conflicts I faced as an adopted Black man in a white community during my high school years.” 

The 32-year-old Kaepernick, who’s last NFL appearance came at the end of the 2016 season, made headlines when he took a knee during the national anthem before games. He has remained outspoken about issues like police brutality and racial inequality despite being out of the league.

Kaepernick will also serve as an executive producer for the series, which will detail his experiences being a Black child in Northern California adopted into a white family. No release date has been set.

"With his act of protest, Colin Kaepernick ignited a national conversation about race and justice with far-reaching consequences for football, culture and for him, personally," DuVernay said in a release. "Colin's story has much to say about identity, sports and the enduring spirit of protest and resilience."
 

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