News of the threat posed to Kaepernick’s TV production by the Proud Boys comes after Netflix announced the limited series Colin in Black & White would provide a “meaningful insight” into the NFL star’s formative years and his time in high school, ultimately shaping his views on race and seeing him become the strong activist he is today.
In 2016, sports fans around the world watched on as Colin Kaepernick - star quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers - took a knee during the national anthem in an act of protest. Today, the symbol is one we’ve come to associate with an urgent fight for justice, one that galvanised much of the world in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd in police custody. As news footage showed the police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he struggled to utter the words, “I can’t breathe,” the image came to be burned on our retina. As thousands took to the streets to demand justice and equality, it was this stance that united countries in protest. That might have been the case in 2020, but in 2016 Kaepernick’s actions only saw the NFL star ostracised from the sports itself.
The NFL’s response to Kaepernick’s protest has been met with great criticism, with many championing Kaepernick as an influential force, someone willing to sacrifice his career for what he believed in. The world had not yet woken up to the explicit racism perpetrated by police and those in positions of power, but it was something Kaepernick had witnessed and lived through. Naturally, sensing that this was a story that would fascinate countless people, Netflix tapped Kaepernick for a six-part series with Ava DuVernay also serving as creator.
Last June, following the announcement of the series, DuVernay said in a statement, “With his act of protest, Colin Kaepernick ignited a national conversation about race and justice with far-reaching consequences for football, culture and for him, personally. Colin’s story has much to say about identity, sports, and the enduring spirit of protest and resilience. I couldn’t be happier than to tell this story with the team at Netflix.”