There’s a good case to be made that Colin Kaepernick is the most significant professional athlete of the last four years, even though he hasn’t played football since the end of the 2016 season.
Kaepernick, of course, began taking a knee during the national anthem during the 2016 season, and soon emerged as a strident voice for racial justice and against police brutality. This led to bitter arguments among football fans and those in the game, and eventually, the president of the United States denouncing NFL players as “sons of bitches.”
This year, the killing of George Floyd and all of the ensuing events has led many to conclude, albeit belatedly, that maybe Kaepernick had a point after all. Even the NFL has issued official statements saying that they were wrong to question the right of players to peacefully protest, although they have stopped short of either apologizing to Kaepernick, nor has any team offered him a contract.
Through it all, there’s an underrated aspect of Kaepernick’s role: Namely, that doesn’t often talk. Kaepernick rarely gives interviews, and almost never appears on television, seemingly seeking to make his points through his actions rather than words. Just about the only time his speaking voice has been publicly heard in the last three years was when he narrated that famous Nike commercial.
Now, it appears we’re going to see (and hear) Kaepernick on television, even if it doesn’t involve playing. Netflix announced Monday that is teaming up with filmmaker Ava DuVernay (Selma, 13th, and When They See Us) on a six-part Netflix series called Colin in Black and White. The series, which will feature Kaepernick as the narrator, will focus on the quarterback’s teenage years. Michael Starrbury, who also worked on When They See Us, is listed as the writer of the project.
“Too often we see race and black stories portrayed through a white lens,” Kaepernick said in Netflix’s press release. “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. It’s an honor to bring these stories to life in collaboration with Ava for the world to see.”
No release date has been announced for the series, and it’s also unclear how much it will deal with Kaepernick’s professional career, or with his protests. That, in itself, could likely fill an entire six-part documentary.