Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre thinks Colin Kaepernick will reach a hero status similar to that of Pat Tillman. Last month, the football legend made headlines when he compared Kaepernick to Tillman.
And we have to agree.
Since infamously taking a knee during the national anthem in 2016 pre-season game in protest of racial injustice, Kaepernick has inspired other athletes to powerfully take to their knees – now more so than ever.
Now a free agent, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback continues to make headlines for his powerful contributions to the Black Lives Matters (BLM) movement. Most recently, it was revealed that his charity, the Know Your Rights Camp (KYRC), has donated more than $1.75 million(!) to aid Black and Brown communities and assist with COVID-19 relief.
Studies indicate that COVID-19 disproportionately affects Black and Brown communities. Recognizing this, the charity earmarked $800,000 in grants to 13 groups that have been affected by the pandemic. Additionally, KYRC has also joined forces with Impossible Foods to assist people experiencing food insecurity since the onset of the pandemic.
Early on in the ever-strident BLM movement, KYRC announced it would help pay legal defense for people arrested in protests after the murder of George Floyd, and the organization continues to expand on this initiative. It gave a collaborative grant to the National Lawyers Guild to support the defense of thousands of cases throughout the United States and has dedicated $200,000 to various groups in cities like Detroit, Miami, Atlanta, and more to cover bail funds.
Notably, Kaepernick just teamed up with 13th documentary director Ava DuVernay for a six-episode drama series called Colin in Black & White, which follows his early years, from his adoption by a white family, to his high school years. At a time when globally eyes are on both DuVernay and Kaepernick, it’s safe to expect the series will quickly reach “trending” status on the streaming service.
Undoubtedly, Kaepernick’s star is shining brighter than ever, as he continues to change minds, inspire change, and provoke important, yet- long- overdue conversations. This brings us to Tillman.
During a conversation with TMZ Sports in June, Favre was asked whether Kaepernick deserved Pro Football Hall of Fame consideration, given his achievements both on and off the field. Favre compared the relentless work Kaepernick does to highlight racial injustice and combat systemic racism to Tillman’s activism. Tillman famously left the NFL to fight for his country in the Army in the wake of 9/11.
“It’s not easy for a guy his age – black or white, Hispanic, whatever – to stop something that you’ve always dreamed of doing, and put it on hold, maybe forever, for something that you believe in,” Favre said of Kaepernick’s decision to leave his NFL career to fight for justice,”According to Favre. “I can only think of right off the top of my head, Pat Tillman is another guy that did something similar. And, we regard him as a hero. So, I’d assume that hero status will be stamped with Kaepernick as well.”
Many would argue he’s already a hero.
But just because Kaepernick swapped the football field for the public stage, doesn’t mean he’ll never return to the NFL. In fact, there’s a growing cry among players that signing Kaepernick will truly symbolize a commitment from the professional football organization to prove their supposed support to fight racial injustice and support the BLM movement.
“I don’t think any player will really believe the sentiments of the NFL if Colin Kaepernick doesn’t have a job in the league this season,” said Texans safety Michael Thomas in a guest column for NBC’s Pro Football Talk. The article is definitely worth a read.
The critical change Kaepernick continues to inspire, supports the adage that ‘not all heroes wear capes.’ Instead some wear football cleats that, frankly, need to stop gathering dust.