Colin Kaepernick T-shirt

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Show your support for our fights with bravery with your Colin Kaepernick T-shirt!

Colin Kaepernick, NFL player and Black Lives Matter activist

There’s no doubt about it: Colin Kaepernick is the face of the new civil rights movement. By first sitting and then kneeling last season to draw attention to the oppression of black people and people of color in the U.S., the now-unemployed quarterback risked his career. At a rally scheduled for Wednesday at NFL headquarters in New York City, others will stand up for him.

In recent weeks, the groundswell of support for Kaepernick has manifested in groups calling for a boycott of professional sports’ most successful and powerful league. The NAACP has implored people to withhold their support unless the NFL finds a landing spot for the activist-athlete. On Aug. 19 in Brooklyn, New York, members of the New York Police Department came together to back Kaepernick. Through online petitions, videos and social media, fans are pushing the NFL to let Kaepernick return to work.

Activists are among the growing list of people nationwide who share a belief about Kaepernick first espoused by some African-American players: that teams have effectively blackballed him because of his activism. But for the rally’s planners, the day will be as much about continuing the struggle in an attempt to fix the problems that prompted Kaepernick to take a knee as it is pushing for a team to sign him. Kaepernick has come to represent much more than just himself.

Inspired by Kaepernick, other NFL players and pro athletes conducted various forms of silent protests during the national anthem. The NFL experienced an 8 percent decline in viewership in the 2016 season with the No. 1 reason, cited by 30 percent of fans in a J. D. Power survey, being the player protests. His San Francisco teammates awarded him the team's Len Eshmont Award, as the player who best epitomized the inspirational and courageous play of former 49er Len Eshmont. Then-49ers head coach Kelly later said that Kaepernick was "zero distraction" that season.

Also in 2016, Kaepernick and his partner Nessa founded the "Know Your Rights Camp", an organization which held free seminars to disadvantaged youths to teach them about self-empowerment, American history, and legal rights. In April 2020, the Know Your Rights Camp launched a relief fund for individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Kaepernick donated $100,000 to the fund.

In 2018, Nike released an ad featuring Kaepernick with the text, "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything." NFL spokesperson Jocelyn Moore responded to the ad saying Kaepernick's social justice campaign, "deserve(s) our attention and action."

In June 2020, amid the George Floyd protests, The New York Times wrote that the NFL had wrestled with the issue of race, noting that three-quarters of NFL players are African-American, yet nearly every NFL team owner is white (and several are prominent Trump supporters). The reconsideration of Kaepernick has begun. In August, after the shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, Goodell said that he wished the NFL had listened earlier to Kaepernick's reasons for kneeling.

For those who are not scared to go against the crowd in support for the Black Lives Matter movement, get your Colin Kaepernick T-shirt!

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Colin Kaepernick

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