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Colin Kaepernick

Colin Rand Kaepernick (/ˈkæpərnɪk/ KAP-ər-nik;[1] born November 3, 1987) is an American activist and former American football quarterback in the National Football League (NFL). He last played for the San Francisco 49ers in 2016.

Colin Kaepernick
refer to caption
Kaepernick with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012
No. 7
Position:Quarterback
Personal information
Born: (1987-11-03) November 3, 1987 (age 31)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:230 lb (104 kg)
Career information
High school:John H. Pitman
(Turlock, California)
College:Nevada
NFL Draft:2011 / Round: 2 / Pick: 36
Career history
Career highlights and awards
  • WAC Offensive Player of the Year (2008, 2010)
NFL records
  • Most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single game (181 yards)
  • Most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single postseason (264 yards)
Career NFL statistics
TDInt:72–30
Passing yards:12,271
Completion percentage:59.8
Passer rating:88.9
Rushing yards:2,300
Rushing touchdowns:13
Player stats at NFL.com

Kaepernick played college football for the University of Nevada where he was named the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Offensive Player of the Year twice and became the only player in NCAA Division I FBS history to amass 10,000 passing yards and 4,000 rushing yards in a career. After graduating, he was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Kaepernick began his professional football career as a backup quarterback to Alex Smith, and became the 49ers' starter in the middle of the 2012 season after Smith suffered a concussion. He then remained the team's starting quarterback for the rest of the season, leading the team to their first Super Bowl appearance since 1994. During the 2013 season, his first full season as a starter, Kaepernick helped the 49ers reach the NFC Championship Game. Over the next three seasons, Kaepernick lost and won back his starting job, with the 49ers missing the playoffs for three years consecutively.

During the 49ers' third preseason game in 2016, Kaepernick began to sit during the playing of the U.S. national anthem prior to games, rather than stand as is customary, as a protest against racial injustice and systematic oppression in the country.[2][3] The following week, and throughout the regular season, Kaepernick began kneeling during the anthem instead. The actions resulted in a wider protest movement, which intensified in September 2017 after president Donald Trump suggested that NFL owners should fire players who protest the national anthem.[4][5] Following the season, Kaepernick became a free agent and went unsigned in the offseason. In November 2017, Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL and its owners, accusing them of colluding to keep him out of the league.

Contents

Early life

Kaepernick was born in 1987 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Heidi Russo, a 19-year-old Caucasian woman.[6][7] His birth father was African-American and separated from Russo before Kaepernick was born.[8][9] Russo placed Kaepernick for adoption with Rick and Teresa Kaepernick, a couple who had two older children, son Kyle and daughter Devon. The Kaepernicks decided to adopt a boy after losing two other sons to heart defects.[8][10][11]

Kaepernick lived in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin until age four when his family moved to California.[12][13] When he was eight years old, Kaepernick began playing youth football as a defensive end and punter. At age nine, he was the starting quarterback on his youth team, and he completed his first pass for a long touchdown.[12] A 4.0 GPA student[14] at John H. Pitman High School in Turlock, California, Kaepernick played football, basketball and baseball and was nominated for All-State selection in all three sports his senior year. He was the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Central California Conference in football, leading his school to its first-ever playoff victory. In basketball, he was a first-team all CCC selection at forward and led his 16th-ranked team to a near upset of #1 ranked Oak Ridge High School in the opening round of playoffs. In that game, Kaepernick scored 34 points but future NBA player Ryan Anderson of Oak Ridge scored 50 points to lead his team to a victory.[15]

College career

Kaepernick received most of his high school accolades as a baseball pitcher. He received several scholarship offers in that sport but he wanted to play college football.[12] The University of Nevada was the only school to offer him a football scholarship and Kaepernick signed with them in February 2006.[13]

Kaepernick started his college career at Nevada playing in 11 of the team's 13 games. He finished the season with nineteen passing touchdowns, three interceptions, and 2,175 passing yards with a 53.8% completion percentage.[16] Kaepernick also added 593 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns as the Nevada Wolf Pack finished 6-7.[17]

As a sophomore, Kaepernick recorded 2,849 passing yards, 22 passing touchdowns, seven interceptions and 1,130 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns. He became just the fifth player in NCAA history to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 or more yards in a single season.[18] He was named the Humanitarian Bowl MVP despite Nevada losing after having 370 yards passing, three passing touchdowns, two interceptions and adding fifteen yards rushing with a rushing touchdown. At the conclusion of the same, Kaepernick won the WAC Offensive Player of the Year. He was the first sophomore to win this award since Marshall Faulk of San Diego State did in 1992. He was also named first team All-WAC quarterback.[19]

In the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft, Kaepernick was drafted in the 43rd round by the Chicago Cubs.[20] He decided that he wanted to continue to play football at the University of Nevada and chose not to sign with the Cubs.[21]

Kaepernick finished his junior season with 2,052 passing yards, twenty passing touchdowns, six interceptions and 1,183 rushing yards and sixteen rushing touchdowns.[22] Kaepernick led the Wolf Pack to an 8–5 record and a second-place finish in the WAC behind undefeated Boise State. He was named second team All-WAC quarterback for the season.

 
Kaepernick in 2010

On November 26, 2010, Kaepernick led his team to a 34–31 overtime victory against the previously undefeated Boise State Broncos, snapping a 24-game win streak that had dated back to the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl.[23] This game was played on Nevada's senior night, the final home game for Kaepernick. Nevada Head Coach Chris Ault would later call this game the "most important win in program history".

Kaepernick ended his senior season with 3,022 passing yards, twenty-one passing touchdowns, eight interceptions and 1,206 rushing yards and twenty rushing touchdowns. He joined Florida's Tim Tebow as the second quarterback in FBS history to have twenty passing touchdowns and twenty rushing touchdowns in the same season.[24] Nevada claimed a share of the WAC title after defeating Louisiana Tech. Kaeperick was named WAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year with Kellen Moore, who won the award in 2009.[25]

Kaepernick finished his collegiate career with 10,098 passing yards, 82 passing touchdowns, 24 interceptions, 4,112 rushing yards and 59 rushing touchdowns. He became the first and only quarterback in the history of Division I FBS college football to have passed for over 10,000 yards and rushed for over 4,000 yards in a collegiate career. He also tied former Nebraska quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch for most career rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in FBS history.

Kaepernick would then declare for the 2011 NFL Draft.

Statistics

Passing Rushing
Season Team GP Att Comp Comp % Yards TD INT RAT Att Yards Avg TD
2006 Nevada
DNP – Redshirt
2007 Nevada 11 247 133 53.8% 2,175 19 3 150.8 105 593 5.6 6
2008 Nevada 13 383 208 54.3% 2,849 22 7 132.1 161 1,130 7.0 17
2009 Nevada 13 282 166 58.9% 2,052 20 6 139.1 161 1,183 7.3 16
2010 Nevada 14 359 233 64.9% 3,022 21 8 150.5 173 1,206 7.0 20
Career 51 1,271 740 58.2% 10,098 82 24 142.5 600 4,112 6.9 59

Professional career

San Francisco 49ers

2011 season

On April 29, 2011, the San Francisco 49ers traded up with the Denver Broncos from the thirteenth pick in the second round (45th overall) to select Kaepernick as the fourth pick in the second round (36th overall) at the 2011 NFL draft.[26] The Broncos received picks 45, 108, and 141 overall in exchange for the 36th overall pick.

Kaepernick spent the 2011 season as backup to Alex Smith and only attempted five passes during the season.[27][28][29]

2012 season

In 2012, Kaepernick was initially used sparingly to run certain plays. He scored his first career touchdown in the team's fourth game when he scored on a seven-yard run against the New York Jets.[30][31] In Week 10, against the St. Louis Rams, Kaepernick replaced Smith in the second-half of the game after he suffered a concussion in the first half. Kaepernick completed eleven of seventeen passes for 117 yards and added 66 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown as the 49ers and the Rams ended the game in a 24–24 tie.[32] He got his first NFL start the next game on November 19, during a Monday Night Football game against the Chicago Bears at Candlestick Park.[33] Kaepernick completed 16-of-23 for 246 yards with two touchdowns in a 32–7 win against a highly ranked Bears defense.[34] A quarterback controversy began. Smith was ranked third in the NFL in passer rating (104.1), led the league in completion percentage (70%), and had been 19–5–1 as a starter under Harbaugh, while Kaepernick was considered more dynamic with his scrambling ability and arm strength.[35][36] Smith was cleared to play the day before the following game, but Harbaugh chose not to rush him back and again started Kaepernick. He remained the starter for the rest of the season and led the 49ers to an 11-4-1 record and a berth in the NFL playoffs.[37][38][39]

 
Kaepernick in Super Bowl XLVII

In his first career postseason start, against the Green Bay Packers, Kaepernick had 263 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, one interception and 181 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns as the 49ers defeated the Packers 45-31. With his performance, he set an NFL single-game record for most rushing yards by a quarterback with 181, breaking Michael Vick's record of 173 in a 2002 regular season game.[40] He also broke the 49ers postseason rushing record, regardless of position and joined Jay Cutler and Otto Graham in both as the only players in NFL history to run for two touchdowns and pass for two others in a playoff game.[41][40] In the NFC Championship game, the 49ers defeated the Atlanta Falcons 28–24 with Kaepernick completing 16-of-21 passes for 233 yards and one touchdown.[42] The team advanced to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans against the Baltimore Ravens. Kaepernick threw for a touchdown and ran for another, but the 49ers fell behind early and could not come back, losing by a score of 31–34.[43]

2013 season

In the season opener of the 2013 season against the Green Bay Packers, Kaepernick threw for a career-high 412 yards and three touchdowns, the first 400-yard game by a 49ers quarterback since Tim Rattay on October 10, 2004.[44] Kaepernick ended the season with 3,197 yards passing, 21 touchdowns, and eight interception, 524 yards rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns and led the 49ers to a 12-4 record and a berth in the NFL playoffs.

In the Wild Card round, the 49ers played the Green Bay Packers. Kaepernick had 227 passing yards, one passing touchdown, one interception and added 98 rushing yards as the 49ers beat the Packers 23-20. In the divisional round, against the Carolina Panthers, Kaepernick had 196 passing yards, one passing touchdown, 15 rushing yards, and one rushing touchdown as the 49ers beat the Panthers 23-10. In the NFC Championship Game, against eventual Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, Kaepernick had 153 passing yards, one passing touchdown, two interceptions and rushed for 130 yards as the 49ers lost to the Seahawks 17-23, ending the 49ers' season and attempt to return to the Super Bowl.[45][46]

2014 season

On June 4, Kaepernick signed a six-year contract extension with the 49ers, worth up to $126 million, including $54 million in potential guarantees, and $13 million fully guaranteed.[47]

On September 17, Kaepernick was fined by the NFL for using inappropriate language on the field.[48] On October 9, he was fined $10,000 by the NFL for appearing at a post-game press conference wearing headphones from Beats by Dre, while the league's headphone sponsor was Bose.[49] In a game against the San Diego Chargers, he ran for a 90-yard touchdown.[50] The 49ers finished the season 8–8 and failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2010.[51] Kaepernick threw for 3,369 yards with 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He rushed for 639 yards and one touchdown.[52] Following the season, head coach Jim Harbaugh left to coach the University of Michigan.[53]

2015 season

In 2015, Kaepernick struggled under new head coach Jim Tomsula. A day after a 27–6 collapse at St. Louis in Week 8, Kaepernick lost his starting job to backup Blaine Gabbert for Week 9 against Atlanta.[54] With Gabbert starting as their new quarterback, the 49ers narrowly won 17–16. On November 21, the 49ers announced that Kaepernick would miss the rest of the season because of an injured left shoulder that required surgery.[55] He ended the season with 1,615 yards passing, six passing touchdowns, five interceptions and 256 rushing yards with one rushing touchdown in nine games.[56]

Head coach Tomsula was fired following the season and the 49ers hired Chip Kelly as his replacement.[57] In February 2016, Kaepernick expressed an interest in being traded.[58]

2016 season

Kaepernick entered the 2016 season competing for starting quarterback position with Gabbert.[59] On September 3, 2016, 49ers head coach Chip Kelly named Gabbert as the starter for the beginning of the 2016 season.[60] Prior to the 49ers Week 6 game against the Buffalo Bills, Kelly announced Kaepernick would start, marking his first start of the season. On October 13, it was announced that he and the 49ers restructured his contract, turning it into a two-year deal with a player option for the next season.[61] He completed 13-of-29 passes, with 187 passing yards, one passing touchdown and 66 rushing yards in the 49ers 45-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills.[62] On November 27, he recorded 296 passing yards, three passing touchdowns and 113 yards rushing in the 49ers' 24-31 loss to the Miami Dolphins.[63] He joined Michael Vick, Cam Newton, Randall Cunningham, and Marcus Mariota as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to record at least three passing touchdowns and 100 yards rushing in a game. In a Week 13 loss to the Chicago Bears, Kaepernick threw a career-low four yards before getting benched for Gabbert.[64] He returned to the starting lineup the following week and threw for 183 yards and two touchdowns in the 49ers' 13-41 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.[65] On December 24, Kaepernick recorded 281 total yards, two passing touchdowns, one interception, one rushing touchdown, and a two-point conversion on the game-winning drive as the 49ers beat the Los Angeles Rams 22-21 to get their first victory on the season with Kaepernick as the starter.[66] For the 2016 NFL season, Kaepernick played twelve games and ended the season with 2,241 passing yards, sixteen passing touchdowns, four interceptions and added 468 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.[67]

On March 3, 2017, Kaepernick officially opted out of his contract with the 49ers, an option as part of his restructured contract, therefore making him a free agent at the start of the 2017 league year.[68]

NFL career statistics

Regular season

Year Team Games Passing[69] Rushing Sacked Fumbles Record
G GS Comp Att Pct Yds Avg TD Int Rtg Att Yds Avg TD Sack Yds Fum Lost Win-Loss
2011 SF 3 0 3 5 60.0 35 7.0 0 0 81.2 2 −2 −1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0–0
2012 SF 13 7 136 218 62.4 1,814 8.3 10 3 98.3 63 415 6.6 5 16 112 9 2 5–2
2013 SF 16 16 243 416 58.4 3,197 7.7 21 8 91.6 92 524 5.7 4 39 231 6 4 12–4
2014 SF 16 16 289 478 60.5 3,369 7.0 19 10 86.4 104 639 6.1 1 52 344 8 5 8–8
2015 SF 9 8 144 244 59.0 1,615 6.6 6 5 78.5 45 256 5.7 1 28 166 5 1 2–6
2016 SF 12 11 196 331 59.2 2,241 6.8 16 4 90.7 69 468 6.8 2 36 207 9 3 1–10
Total 69 58 1,011 1,692 59.8 12,271 7.3 72 30 88.9 375 2,300 6.1 13 171 1,060 37 15 28–30

Playoffs

Year Team G GS Passing[69] Rushing Sacked Fumbles Record
Comp Att Pct Yds Y/A TD Int Rtg Att Yds Avg TD Sack Yds Fum Lost W/L (as starter)
2012 SF 3 3 49 80 61.3 798 10.0 4 2 100.9 25 264 10.6 3 5 32 1 0 2–1
2013 SF 3 3 45 82 54.9 576 7.0 3 3 74.0 26 243 9.3 1 6 26 3 1 2–1
Total 6 6 94 162 58.0 1,374 8.5 7 5 87.3 51 507 9.9 4 11 58 4 1 4–2

Activism

In the 49ers third preseason game of the 2016 season, Kaepernick was noticed sitting down during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" as opposed to the tradition of standing. During a post-game interview, he explained his position stating, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder", referencing a series of African-American deaths caused by law enforcement that led to the Black Lives Matter movement and adding that he would continue to protest until he feels like "[the American flag] represents what it's supposed to represent".[70][71][72] In the 49ers' fourth and final preseason game of 2016, Kaepernick opted to kneel during the U.S. national anthem rather than sit as he did in their previous games. He explained his decision to switch was an attempt to show more respect to former and current U.S. military members while still protesting during the anthem after having a conversation with former NFL player and U.S. military veteran Nate Boyer.[73] After the September 2016 police shootings of Terence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott,[74] Kaepernick commented publicly on the shootings saying, "this is a perfect example of what this is about".[75] Photos then surfaced of him wearing socks depicting police officers as pigs.[76] [77] In a statement he acknowledged wearing them as a statement against "rogue cops". He maintained that he has friends/family in law enforcement and that there are cops with "good intentions" who protect and serve and he was not targeting all police.[78] Kaepernick went on to kneel during the anthem prior to every 49ers game that season.

After his national anthem protests, Kaepernick pledged to donate one million dollars to "organizations working in oppressed communities."[79] In 2018, Kaepernick announced that he would make the final $100,000 donation of his "Million Dollar Pledge" in the form of $10,000 donations to charities that would be matched by celebrities.[80]

Also in 2016, Kaepernick founded the "Know Your Rights Camp", an organization which holds free seminars to disadvantaged youths to teach them about self-empowerment, American history and legal rights.

Lawsuit against NFL

Following his departure from the 49ers in 2016, Kaepernick went unsigned through the off-season and 2017 training camps, leading to allegations that he was being blackballed because of his on-field political statements as opposed to his performance.[81][82][83][84][85][86][87][88][89][90]

In November 2017, Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL, accusing NFL owners of collusion to keep him out of the league.[91] The NFL requested to dismiss the case but was denied by an arbitrator which meant the case would go to trial.[92][93]

On February 15, 2019, it was reported by Yahoo! that Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid had reached a financial settlement with the NFL and dropped their collusion lawsuit.[94]

Personal life

Kaepernick was baptized Methodist, confirmed Lutheran, and attended a Baptist church during his college years.[95] Kaepernick spoke about his faith saying, "I think God guides me through every day and helps me take the right steps and has helped me to get to where I'm at."[96] Kaepernick has multiple tattoos about his faith. His right arm features a scroll with the Bible verse Psalm 18:39 written on it. Tattooed under the scroll are praying hands with the phrase "To God The Glory" written on them. To the left of both the scroll and praying hands is the word "Faith" written vertically. His left arm features a Christian cross with the words "Heaven Sent" on it referring to Jesus Christ. Written above and below the cross is the phrase "God Will Guide Me". Written to the left and right of the cross is the Bible verse Psalm 27:3.[97][98][99]

Kaepernick reportedly started dating radio personality and television host Nessa Diab in July 2015,[100] and officially went public about their relationship in February 2016.[101]

Kaepernick began following a vegan diet in late 2015.[102]

Kaepernick's family has had a pet African spurred tortoise named Sammy since he was 10 years old.[103]

Awards and honors

References

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Further reading

External links