Colin Kaepernick on the Impact of His Netflix Biopic Series, Acting and Whether He’d Return to the NFL

Colin Kaepernick discussed his upcoming Netflix scripted series and its appeal to different audiences, and if he still wants to play for an NFL team in an interview with Ebony released Wednesday. 

As the cover star of the magazine’s November issue, Kaepernick spoke with The View’s Sunny Hostin as well as Aicha Sacko and Elsabet Franklin, two Lower Eastside Girls Club members who also graduated from Kaepernick’s nonprofit called Know Your Rights Camp. The organization works to support Black and Brown communities through youth-empowerment camps. The KYRC is one of the many projects he is working on, including his biopic series. 

Speaking about his upcoming series Colin in Black & White, which he co-created with Ava DuVernay, the athlete and activist said he hopes audiences will be uniquely impacted by the show. He explained, “When you look at Black and Brown folks, especially Black and Brown youth, the message is staying true to yourself, believing in yourself, having confidence in your identity, and not letting anybody take that from you.”

He added, “I also think that as we look at broader society, part of what the show speaks to is how whiteness shows up…and how we engage with it…but also the pressures, the microaggressions, the racism, and what that shows up as. I hope it’s an opportunity for white people to be able to look at their actions…how they show up in society and how they are engaging with Black and Brown folks…and look at their own privilege and perspective and be able to take away from this what actions they can take to improve the dynamics and the oppressive nature of systems and positions of power and privilege that they have.”

Colin in Black & White will focus on Kaepernick being adopted by a white family and his teenage years. “[O]ne of the pieces of being Black and being adopted into a white family [is that there] are conversations that I just couldn’t have or didn’t feel comfortable having,” he shared. “I wish I had a mentor to turn to in those moments to be able to have those conversations to help better navigate what I was facing.”

Kaepernick said acting in the series “felt like preparing for a game.” He further explained the comparison, saying, “Going through lines, going through the preparation, and then also being on set and having to have my lines ready, having to hit my marks, trying to bring out different emotions, different tones, different deliveries. [It] really felt natural to me. I just didn’t have to dodge any 300-pound lineman while doing it.”

He has not played for a NFL team since 2016 following his protest of state terrorism and white supremacy by taking a knee during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before each game. Despite the show, his non-profit, and his company Kaepernick Publishing, Kaepernick revealed that he is ready to play in the NFL again.

I am still up at 5 a.m. training five, six days a week making sure I’m prepared to take a team to a Super Bowl again,” he said, referring to the San Francisco 49ers’ appearance at the championship game in 2013. “That’s not something I will ever let go of, regardless of the actions of 32 teams and their partners to deny me employment. The same way I was persistent in high school is the same way I’m gonna be persistent here.”

He continued, “And you’re gonna have to continue to deny me and do so in a public way. And you’re gonna expose yourself by that, but it won’t be because I’m not ready or not prepared. But in that process, I’m also not gonna let you bury my future. I’m gonna continue to do work on the acting and producing side, continue to do the work with Know Your Rights, and make sure we are having an impact. I think that’s the beauty of us collectively—we are not one-dimensional.”

His series hits Netflix on Oct. 29 and his publishing company’s first book, an anthology he edited called Abolition for the People: The Movement for a Future Without Policing & Prisons, is currently available. 

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