Ex-US NFL star Kaepernick to produce civil rights media content

Kaepernick set off national debate when he highlighted racism by kneeling during the US anthem, now joining Medium.

Colin K
A protester in Inglewood, California wears a t-shirt with a picture of Colin Kaepernick during a protest against police brutality in the aftermath of the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd [File: Mike Blake/Reuters]

Former United States sport star Colin Kaepernick has joined the board of directors of Medium and will work on content focused on race and civil rights, the US-based online publishing platform said.

Kaepernick, an ex-NFL quarterback who sparked a national debate when he protested against racial injustice by kneeling as the US national anthem played during a game, will be publishing across Medium’s platform and sharing thoughts on anti-Black racism in society, the company said on Thursday.

Medium allows users, including companies and media outlets, to post blogs that readers can annotate.

“I know he will bring valuable insights and leadership to Medium, especially in this moment when the world is finally catching up to his vision on racial justice,” Ev Williams, chief executive of Medium, said in a statement.

“I couldn’t be more happy to welcome Colin to Medium. He’s an incisive, independent thinker, whose integrity has inspired so many. The world needs more of that.”

Kaepernick’s protests, aimed at drawing attention to police brutality against minorities, began in 2016 when he popularised the gesture of kneeling during pre-game renditions of “The Star-Spangled Banner” while a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

He became a free agent after that season, during which he went 1-10 as a starter, and has since been unable to find a team to play for. Many experts attribute his political activism as the key reason teams are wary of signing him.

The act of kneeling during the US national anthem had all but disappeared from the world of sport, but returned recently following the death last month of George Floyd at the hands of a white policeman, which triggered protests across the US over police brutality.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said this week he would encourage teams to sign Kaepernick, adding the league would also welcome his off-the-field guidance on social justice.

Kaepernick launched a publishing company in February which is also part of the partnership and will help create and feature stories on race and civil rights in the US, and elevate emerging voices from communities of colour.

“I am excited for Kaepernick Publishing to partner with Medium to continue to elevate Black voices in the news and publishing industry,” said Kaepernick.

“I also look forward to creating new opportunities and avenues for Black writers and creators with my new role as a board member.”

Source: Reuters