Happy Birthday to Colin Kaepernick! The San Francisco 49ers quarterback turns 29 today. Since he initially sat during the national anthem in late August as a stance against racism and police brutality affecting African-Americans, Kaepernick has knelt during the anthem of every subsequent 49ers' game this season. But his continuing silent protest is just one of the many reasons why he's our and your favorite woke bae. The realest athlete in the game right now? We'd say yes.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color," Kaepernick said to reporters, explaining why he first sat during the national anthem at a 49ers' preseason game in late August. "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."
He added, "This is not something that I am going to run by anybody. I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. ... If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right."
After the 49ers' final preseason game, Kaep took his national anthem protest a giant step further by announcing that he'll donate $1 million in support of groups combating racism and police brutality. The epitome of putting your money where your mouth is...and shutting up critics in the process. Take that, haters!
With NFL fans and players showing out in public support of Kaepernick's stance, the 49ers QB's jersey quickly became the top selling jersey in the league. Adding to his $1 million donation, Kaep took to his IG to announce that 100 percent of the proceeds of his jersey sales will go to the communities that need it the most. How real is that?
In the wake of yet another unarmed Black man, Terrence Sterling, being shot and killed by police, Kaep was as woke as it gets, educating the media and critics as to why he continues to kneel during the national anthem.
"It's become habitual," Kaepernick told reporters of events similar to the Sterling incident. "It's an issue and it needs to be addressed because it continues to happen and every time it's administrative leave [as a punishment for the police officers involved]. That's not right. That's an issue that needs to be addressed and policies need to be changed to address that."
When ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer suggested that a then-backup QB like Kaepernick should be "quiet," Colin wasn't having it. Watch above how he proceeded to surgically ether the former NFL QB. Not on his watch, Trent.
Full-blown national exposure and beyond. This cover also served as yet another platform for the QB to further spread the word about the issues that triggered his stance. Yeah, we'd call that a touchdown!
When Kaepernick caught wind of the Castlemont High School football team in Oakland following his silent protest of the national anthem, he made sure to pay them a visit; not only to speak with them, but to join them in their stance. Real deal.
When asked about the presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Kaepernick didn't hold back, calling them "proven liars" who were "trying to debate who was less racist." Damn! Shots fired! Presidential candidates down!
If you still weren't convinced how woke and dedicated Kaepernick is to making change, look no further than this. During the 49ers' bye week this past weekend, he used his off time to launch his Black Panther Party-inspired youth camp, I Know My Rights Camp. Although he launched it in Oakland, serving Bay Area youth, it's Kaep's hope that the camp spreads on a national scale. He even got a huge co-sign from Ericka Huggins, who was a former leading founder of the Black Panthers. Happy Birthday to Colin Kaepernick! We can't wait to see your next moves on and especially off the field.
(Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)