While the NFL catches backlash for its failure to sign Colin Kaepernick to a team, the star quarterback is continuing to gain recognition for his social impact off the field.
In honor of Kaepernick’s efforts to shed light on racial injustice and police brutality taking place in America today, items related to the athlete will be displayed as part of a Black Lives Matter collection at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, a museum curator confirmed to USA TODAY Sports on Friday.
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“The National Museum of African American History and Culture has nearly 40,000 items in our collection,” Damion Thomas, the museum’s sports curator told USA Today. “The Colin Kaepernick collection is in line with the museum’s larger collection efforts to document the varied areas of society that have been impacted by the Black Lives Matter movement.”
While earlier reports said that the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback would have his own exhibit at the museum, Thomas explained that is not the case.
Kaepernick became known as an athlete-turned-activist during last year’s NFL season when he made headlines for his decision to kneel during the national anthem as a silent protest against the unjust treatment of African Americans and other people of color.
“When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent in this country, I’ll stand,” ABC News reports him saying.
While his action on the field sparked lots of controversy from sports commentators and football fans alike, Kaepernick continued to follow through on his commitment of fighting for equal rights with a $1 million pledge to charities and the launch of his Know Your Rights Camp, which was inspired by the Black Panther Party’s 10-point plan.
“I’ve been very blessed to be in this position and to make the kind of money I do, and I have to help these people,” The Undefeated reports him saying in a press conference. “I have to help these communities. It’s not right that they’re not put in the position to succeed or given the opportunities to succeed.”
Recognized as a free campaign that is fully funded by Kaepernick, Know Your Rights Camp works to inform youth about higher education, self-empowerment, and instructions for knowing how to properly interact with law enforcement. To help with the funding of the campaign, Kaepernick also sells Know Your Rights t-shirts and sweatshirts that display “I Know My Rights” on the front, and the camp’s 10-point message on the back.
Thomas told USA TODAY that Kaepernick’s game-worn jersey, shoes, and a picture donated by noted sociologist Harry Edwards will be displayed at the museum. The athlete turned activist will join the ranks of other sport greats like Jackie Robinson, Tommie Smith, John Carlos, and Muhammad Ali, who also used their platform to fight for social justice.