Photo credit: Katrina Britney Davis
Colin Kaepernick celebrated his 30th birthday today. To say the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback has had an impactful year would be an understatement. From taking a knee during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality, to sparking a national movement, to making a one-million-dollar pledge to organizations working in oppressed communities, Kaepernick has become a symbol of hope and resistance.
Here are 30 Colin Kaepernick facts to celebrate his milestone birthday and his unwavering commitment to helping create a better future for us all.
1. Kaepernick was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
2. He was raised in Turlock, California, where he started playing youth football at the age of 8.
3. By age 9, Kaepernick became the starting quarterback on his youth team.
4. He predicted he would someday play for the San Francisco 49ers in a letter that he wrote in the 4th grade.
5. In high school, he maintained a 4.0 GPA and played football, basketball and baseball.
6. During his senior year, he was nominated for All-State selection in all three sports.
7. Kaepernick led his school to its first playoff victory.
8. He attended the University of Nevada, Reno, where he joined Kappa Alpha Psi, a historically Black fraternity dedicated to the principles of achievement.
9. Kaepernick also maintained a 4.0 GPA in college.
10. He started playing the position of quarterback in the fifth game of his freshman year.
11. Kaepernick was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 2009; however, he continued to pursue a career in football.
12. In 2011, Kaepernick was drafted into the National Football League.
13. By 2012, his victory dance for celebrating a touchdown was dubbed “Kaepernicking”, which includes kissing one’s biceps.
14. Kaepernick was the one to lead the 49ers to their first Super Bowl appearance since 1994.
15. During the month of August 2016, he started kneeling while the national anthem played to protest racial injustice and police brutality in Black and brown communities.
16. On August 26, 2016, Kaepernick’s protest started to gain attention.
17. On August 28, 2016, he explained his protest, stating: “I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me, this is something that has to change. When there’s significant change and I feel that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, and this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”
18. Kaepernick’s teammate Eric Reid joined his protest by taking a knee with him while the national anthem played on September 1, 2016.
19. On the same day, Jeremy Lane of the Seattle Seahawks joined Kaepernick’s protest and became the first non-teammate of Kaepernick’s to do so.
20. Throughout the entire month of September 2016, several professional athletes joined Kaepernick’s protest.
21. His jersey became and is still the NFL’s top seller.
22. In September of 2016, Kaepernick announced that he’ll donate proceeds of his jersey back into the communities.
23. He then pledged to donate $1 million dollars to organizations working in oppressed communities.
24. Kaepernick has donated $900,000 to charity thus far. .
25. He launched his Know Your Rights Camp, which was inspired by the Black Panther Party’s 10-point plan. It’s a camp that works to inform youth about higher education, self-empowerment, and instructions for knowing how to properly interact with law enforcement.
26. In honor of his efforts to shed light on racial injustice and police brutality in America, some of Kaepernick’s items will be displayed as part of a Black Lives Matter collection at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.
27. He reportedly signed a book deal worth one million dollars.
28. Kaepernick spent six consecutive seasons in the NFL.
29. He will make good on his promise to pledge $1 million dollars to charity before the end of the year.
30. Kaepernick was named one of TIME’s most influential people of 2017.