A Leader on the Rise
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Colin Rand Kaepernick (November 3, 1987) is a dynamic leader in many arenas. As an NFL quarterback, Kaepernick rose to mainstream prominence due to his incredible team lifting performances and his work as an activist against police brutality.
In his early years Kaepernick attended John H. Pitman (Turlock, California.) He was a well-rounded athlete playing football, basketball and baseball where he excelled as a pitcher. However, he chose to focus his talents on football and accepted the only school to offer him a football scholarship.
Colin started his career as a football quarterback at the University of Nevada, where he was the first person to be named Offensive Player of the Year twice in the Western Athletic Conference . He would go on to set several schools and college records, including being the first player in the NCAA Division I to gain 4,000 and 10,000 yards ever.
In 2011, Colin was drafted to the San Francisco 49ers during the second round of the draft as the 36th overall pick . In the earliest points of his career, Colin was a backup player for Alex Smith and became the 49ers’ starter when Smith suffered an injury during 2012 . Colin led his team to their first appearance in the Super Bowl since 1994. He was #7 during his six seasons on the 49ers and played as a quarterback.
During the Super Bowl XLVII - also known as the Blackout Bowl due to a 4th quarter blackout at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans - the 49ers lost to Baltimore Ravens 34-31. Next season, Kaepernick took the 49ers to the NFC Championship game but lost to the Seattle Seahawks 23-17.
After a three-year hiatus from his career and many surgeries later , Kaepernick entered the 2016 season. During this time, he refused to stand for the anthem as a protest to racial injustice, oppression, and police brutality. This was one of many such protests in the weeks that would soon follow. Kaepernick’s actions became the subject of much media attention and became a hot-button political topic. In September 2017, President Trump called upon the NFL owners to fire kneeling NFL players, including Colin.
On the field, Kaepernick delivered a praiseworthy performance, throwing 16 touchdowns against four interceptions and rushing over 460 yards. However, his team would do abysmally with a score of 1-10 in the games he started. Kaepernick became a free agent and remained without a team during the NFL’s next two seasons, 2017 and 2018. No team offered Colin a job or even a tryout. It was speculated that he was being shunned by the NFL for his political views.
This led to a collusion lawsuit that Kapernick led against NFL owners, accusing them of deliberately keeping him out of the NFL due to his political activism. This legal battle reached a sudden conclusion when both sides announced that they had agreed to a settlement.
During this time, Kaepernick received widespread media attention and was named “Citizen of the Year” by GQ Magazine. He was later named a finalist for Time’s “Person of the Year” . Kaepernick continued his work as an activist and partnered up with many organizations, including a Nike commercial that won an Emmy for Best Commercial.
Kaepernick’s story is unique because he had a promising career ahead of him. Few NFL quarterbacks could make defenses look as ill-prepared as Kaepernick did. He had the arm power and precision to drill balls through defenses. He rarely made bad throws and could quickly scramble out of trouble, crossing big yards in mere seconds. He had inspirational leadership skills, which he demonstrated when filling in for Smith when the 49ers were already Super Bowl contenders. Kaepernick handled the unexpected situation with confidence and poise. The response from his teammates speaks for itself.
Despite the strong career prospects and the promise of multi-million dollar contracts, Colin sacrificed it for something he strongly believed in. Doing so made him the most polarizing figure in sports since Muhammad Ali’s refusal to be inducted into the armed forces. He endured threats to his life and those of his family, inspiring a generation of people in doing so.
Colin Kaepernick Biography – Family Life
Colin Kaepernick was born to Heidi Russo in 1987, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His biological father separated from Heidi before Colin’s birth. Faced with the prospects of raising her son on her own, Heidi put Kaepernick up for adoption. After meeting the Kaepernicks, who were introduced to her through a common friend, she decided to give her baby up. The Kaepernicks had two other children, a son named Kyle and a daughter named Devon. They wanted to adopt Colin after losing their two boys to heart problems.
Colin's Impact Off the Field
Kaepernick’s work as an activist has been recognized by numerous organizations worldwide, including Sports Illustrated, Amnesty International, and the ACLU. His teammates voted him as the Len Eshmont, which is considered the most prestigious honor players can vote on.
Colin also founded the Know Your Rights Camp to advance the liberation of minorities through education and self-empowerment to create the next generation of leaders. He has also worked in collaboration with Camp Taylor, an organization that helps children with heart defects.