NFL teams have been strong in their commitment to keeping Colin Kaepernick off the field, but the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback continues to expand his influence and voice as a civil rights activist. Walt Disney announced a new deal with Kaepernick’s production company Monday morning, starting with an ESPN documentary on Kaepernick’s life. Former ESPN Jemele Hill will be involved in that project.
But the deal doesn’t stop there. It will “emphasize scripted and unscripted stories that deal with race, social injustice and the quest for equity, and work to showcase directors and producers of color,” Variety reports.
“I am excited to announce this historic partnership with Disney across all of its platforms to elevate Black and Brown directors, creators, storytellers, and producers, and to inspire the youth with compelling and authentic perspectives,” Kaepernick said in a statement.
Disney’s Bob Iger said Kaepernick has “a unique perspective on the intersection of sports, culture and race, which will undoubtedly create compelling stories that will educate, enlighten and entertain, and we look forward to working with him on this important collaboration.”
In a moment when the media industry is trying to catch up with the demand for culture that centers Black and brown stories and to reckon with racism in U.S. culture and in the media itself, Kaepernick, with the Disney platform, is positioned to be an even more powerful voice than he has already become.
Kaepernick was blackballed by the NFL after kneeling during the national anthem to protest racism and police brutality. But while he lost his first career because of the stand (or knee) he took, he’s gone on to become a more significant figure in U.S. culture as a result. That’s clearly not going to go away anytime soon.
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