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Colin Kaepernick to release memoir through his own new publishing company

Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem with the San Francisco 49ers in 2016.
San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick kneels during the national anthem in 2016.
(Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

Colin Kaepernick is touching down in a new arena.

The NFL quarterback and activist announced Thursday he will release an autobiography this year through his own publishing company, Kaepernick Publishing. Audible, the producer and seller of spoken audio entertainment, will release the spoken-word version and will partner with the imprint to create original content from and about influential figures.

“Part political awakening and part memoir, Kaepernick’s memoir will reveal the life experiences that led him to risk his career as a star NFL Super Bowl quarterback in one silent act of protest,” according to a news release.

“My protest was the culmination of years of thought and experiences, of learning and unlearning,” Kaepernick, 32, said in the release. “I want to tell the story of my evolution, and the events that led me to protest systemic oppression, in hopes that it will inspire others to rise in action.”

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He said he hopes the partnership “can elevate black and brown voices who can empower future generations.”

The memoir’s title and release date were not announced.

According to the release, Kaepernick Publishing, established in March 2019, also plans to offer “unprecedented ownership options” to collaborators and “greater diversity and representation to literature and the spoken word,” though details of the business model and leadership have not been revealed.

“It’s not just my control over stories. 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,” Kaepernick told USA Today this week, elaborating on his motivations for starting a publishing company. “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.”

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This isn’t Kaepernick’s first foray into publishing.

In 2017, it was reported that the NFL player had signed a $1-million book deal with One World, a Random House imprint.

The football star is also collaborating with writer, filmmaker and producer Ava DuVernay on a TV comedy series about Kaepernick’s high school days. “It’s ‘Friday Night Lights’ meets ‘Everybody Hates Chris,’ ” she told Vanity Fair in 2018.

Kaepernick, a former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers who guided the team to the Super Bowl in 2013, made national headlines in 2016 when he refused to stand for the national anthem before a preseason game in protest of police brutality.

His actions were, in part, inspired by tensions between law enforcement and black Americans after Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014. The officer who shot Brown was not indicted.

The NFL might want to avoid talking about Colin Kaepernick, but there is no denying his talents and that he still should be in the league.

In an interview with NFL Media later, Kaepernick explained why he decided to kneel during the performance.

“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 at the time. “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.”

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For the rest of the season, Kaepernick refused to stand, and his actions spurred polarized reactions; some praised him for shedding light on police brutality while others deemed his actions unpatriotic.

The protests mushroomed the following year after President Trump said the NFL should “fire” players who refused to stand for the anthem.

Kaepernick became a free agent shortly thereafter. He filed a grievance against the NFL in 2017 after accusing the league of collusion; he has since been unable to land a job with a football team. In 2019, he withdrew the grievance after reaching an agreement with the league.

In November, the NFL scheduled a workout for Kaepernick in Atlanta, but he was given little notice and the location was moved at the last minute, following a dispute.

In 2018, Kaepernick signed a contract with Nike, which released a modified version of its Air Force 1 sneaker called “True to 7" after Kaepernick’s number in the league.

Despite all the projects he’s embarked on the last several years, his heart is still in the sport.

“My desire to play football is still there,” Kaepernick told USA Today. “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.”

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The NFL player follows in the footsteps of the late basketball legend Kobe Bryant in becoming a publisher.


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