Colin Kaepernick Discusses His Activist Roots In New Book And Aim Of Returning To NFL

He embraced his blackness as a teenager despite opposition from his adoptive white parents.

Former NFL star quarterback Colin Kaepernick wants to inspire young people and give them the confidence to stand up for what they believe in through his newly released book titled, Colin Kaepernick: Change the Game.

In an exclusive conversation with CBS Mornings, Kaepernick said the graphic novel, co-authored with University of Chicago sociology professor Eve L. Ewing, tells the story from the perspective of his teenage self, where we see his roots in racial equality activism.

"You know, very similar to the messaging of the book is I don't have control over all of these situations. But I control how I respond to it, I control how I prepare for it, and I'm a believer that in doing that, good things will happen," Kaepernick told CBS News’ Adriana Diaz in a Chicago bookstore.

In the novel, Kaepernick shares the story behind his determination to embrace his blackness, a journey that his adoptive white parents opposed.

"I know my parents loved me, but there were still very problematic things that I went through. I think it was important to show, 'No, this can happen in your own home.' And how do we move forward collectively while addressing the racism that is being perpetuated," he said.

In high school, Kaepernick, a talented baseball pitcher, felt pressured to pursue a career in Major League Baseball instead of pro football. "There were a lot more Black people in football. I was like, 'Oh, I found some community here,'" he recalled.

Those are just a few of the experiences as a teenager that laid a foundation for the adult Kaepernick to boldly protest police brutality and social injustice after a wave of police killings of unarmed Black men.

Colin Kaepernick Is ‘Absolutely’ Committed To NFL Comeback

On Aug. 14, 2016, Kaepernick began his public protest of racism by sitting on the bench during the national anthem, The Washington Post reported. It went largely unnoticed because it was a preseason game and he was not in uniform. People began to notice by the third preseason game on Aug. 26.

“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,” Kaepernick told the media.

On Sept. 1, he took a knee during the national anthem, igniting outrage among some and admiration for others.

Kaepernick, who helped lead the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013, paid a price for his now iconic protest. He hasn’t played in the NFL since 2016.

In 2017, he sued the league, alleging that team owners colluded to keep him out of the NFL because of his protest. The NFL settled his lawsuit in 2019.

But Kaepernick, 35, isn’t done with the sport he loves. He’s working out and looks forward to another opportunity to join an NFL team.

"Five, six days a week I'm still up at 4:30, I go get my training in. Yeah, that passion is still there and the ability is still there," he revealed.

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