The new Netflix series, Colin In Black & White, is a drama series based on Colin Kaepernick’s life that also examines the history of racism in professional football. On the latter subject, some viewers took to Twitter to criticize a particular clip from the series.
“What they don’t want you to understand is what’s being established is a power dynamic,” Colin Kaepernick narrates. “Before they put you on the field, teams poke, prod and examine you. Searching for any defect that might affect your performance. No boundary respected. No dignity left intact.”
By drawing comparisons between the NFL and slavery, Colin Kaepernick is drawing an analogy between a modern day multi-billion dollar business and a past multi-billion dollar business that ignited the United States Civil War. The shared clip from Kaepernick’s series drew thousands of views, retweets and predictably garnered reactions from people on Twitter.
Some see the comparisons between the NFL and slavery as fallacious because the players are paid millions of dollars to play a game that many people enjoy only recreationally.
Others deem the comparisons to be appropriate because of the power dynamic (NFL salaries are not fully guaranteed and the average NFL player's career is only three years due to the violent nature of the game) and the monetary gap between billionaire team owners who are predominantly white and millionaire players who are predominantly black.
Before producing content for Netflix, Colin Kaepernick enjoyed a brief and successful career in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers. He led the 49ers to the Super Bowl in the 2012 season where they lost to the Baltimore Ravens 31-34. In 2013, he had his best statistical season, throwing 21 touchdowns against 8 interceptions and 3,197 yards passing as well as 524 yards rushing with 4 rushing touchdowns.
In the 2016 season, Colin Kaepernick first knelt during the U.S. national anthem during the 49ers' fourth and final preseason game. He wanted to show more respect to former and current U.S. military members while also drawing attention to police brutality by kneeling during the anthem. His protests drew the ire of many who saw it as disrespectful to veterans and police officers, while others recognized his efforts to bring attention to police brutality.
Colin Kaepernick has not thrown an NFL pass in five years, but his influence has not waned during that time. From Nike ads to a Netflix series, Kaepernick is still making waves in the news whether or not football fans agree with his message.