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Netflix to produce limited series charting Colin Kaepernick’s journey to activism

Colin Kaepernick (Credit: Getty Images)

Streaming service Netflix has announced it will produce a six-part scripted dramatic series charting former National Football League quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s journey to activism.

Colin in Black and White is being made in partnership with Kaepernick himself and acclaimed film maker Ava DuVernay. No date has been set for the release.

The series will chronicle Kaepernick’s upbringing and the experiences that propelled him to become a leading activist against police brutality and racial injustice. An actor will play Kaepernick in his formative years, while Kaepernick will appear as a narrator.

“Too often we see race and Black stories portrayed through a white lens,” Kaepernick said in a 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.”

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback began kneeling during the national anthem at NFL games to protest police brutality and racial inequality in 2016, drawing both support and criticism. He has not played in the NFL since becoming a free agent in 2017.

Kaepernick later filed and then settled a lawsuit against the NFL alleging collusion to keep him out of the league.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell recently said he supports and encourages teams in the league to sign Kaepernick, 32, to a contract.

“If he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then obviously it’s going to take a team to make that decision,” Goodell told ESPN. “But I welcome that, support a club making that decision, and encourage them to do that.

“If his efforts are not on the field but continuing to work in this [social justice] space, we welcome him to that table and to help us, guide us, and help us make better decisions about the kinds of things that need to be done in the communities,” he said.

The league sought to established a tryout for Kaepernick last year in Georgia at the Atlanta Falcons’ facility in which representatives of all 32 NFL teams would attend. The session, however, unraveled amid various issues including media access and liability waiver provisions. Kaepernick instead worked out at a local high school in a short, impromptu session for eight teams, and was not signed. 

Since then, however, the NFL has become notably more outspoken around social justice issues, particularly as the topic has dominated American conversation in recent weeks following the death of George Floyd while in police custody.

Goodell earlier this month publicly released a video encouraging players to protest peacefully and acknowledging prior league missteps in this area. That move was followed by a NFL pledge to contribute $250m over 10 years to “combat systemic racism.”