Colin Kaepernick is now officialy a part of San Francisco 49ers history. According to NBC Sports Bay Area, Kaepernick's protest is featured as part of an exhibit that opened at Levi's Stadium last week. The exhibit is called "Colin Kaepernick's Impact and Influence" and it's part of a larger exhibit called "The Long Game, Sports & Social Justice in the Bay Area."
"It's important that a moment like Kaepernick's protest is included because it's something that most of the people who come to the museum, at least for the next couple of years, will have lived through," Dr. Damion Thomas of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, said. "So part of what you have to show people is that these are ongoing conversations, that these issues and social issues persist." Thomas is a member of the seven-person "Long Game" committee along with former 49ers players Keena Turner and Antoine Bethea.
In 2016, the former 49ers quarterback began protesting during the national anthem. He was raising awareness of racial injustice and police brutality in the country but received backlash for the move as some people felt as if he was disrespecting the flag and the military. "I'm not anti-American," Kaepernick said in 2016. "I love America. I love people. That's why I'm doing this. I want to help make America better."
After the 2016 season, Kaepernick became a free agent as he opted out of his contract. He has not signed with a team since then, and while he had a tryout with the Las Vegas Raiders this past offseason, Kaepernick's NFL career is likely over, and some have argued that the league is keeping him out due to his protest.
"When people come to this exhibition, what I hope they take away is that sports matter, and they matter far beyond the playing field," Dr. Thomas said. "The aim of this exhibition is to inspire people. We want people to see the change, the profound change is possible, but it takes people willing to take stands."
Kaepernick was selected by the 49ers in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. In his six seasons, Kaepernick played in 69 games and threw for 12,271 yards, 72 touchdowns and 30 interceptions and led the team to a Super Bowl appearance during the 2012 season.