Key Words: Colin Kaepernick: ‘I want to tell the story’ behind taking the knee

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Colin Kaepernick is ready to tell his story.

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback hasn’t given many interviews in the four years since he became a political lightning rod after protesting police brutality and social injustice against minorities by kneeling during the national anthem at NFL games. But this week he’s both given an interview to USA Today and announced that he’s releasing a memoir under his own publishing company in partnership with the Amazon-owned AMZN, -0.47%  Audible.

“I’ve had a lot of questions surrounding what got me to the point of protesting,” he told USA Today on Tuesday. “Which led me to wanting to share that story and give insight.”

“Why did I do it? Why did I do it at that moment? Why wasn’t it earlier in my career?”

His still-untitled memoir, described as “part political awakening and part memoir” in a press release, will “reveal the life experiences that led him to risk his career as a star NFL Super Bowl quarterback in one silent act of protest.”

Kaepernick, 32, told USA Today that “I learned early on that in fighting against systematic oppression, dehumanization and colonization, who controls the narrative shapes the reality of how the world views society.”

So in that spirit, Kaepernick Publishing will be dedicated to promoting writers of color, and “give power to black and brown voices globally, offering unprecedented ownership options to collaborators and bringing greater diversity and representation to literature and spoken word.”

“It’s not just my control over stories,” Kaepernick told USA Today. “We wanted to be able to put the power back into the hands of the people that are telling the stories and the people that are writing the stories and creating them.”

His activism off the field has also included creating the Know Your Rights Campaign, which hosts camps to raise awareness on higher education, self-empowerment and instructions on how to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios. And he signed an endorsement contract with Nike NKE, +0.41%   in 2018 for an undisclosed amount, which included a viral commercial and the “True to 7” Kaepernick-branded version of the Air Force 1 sneaker last December, named after the star athlete’s jersey number.

But Kaepernick has been otherwise unemployed, and unsigned by any NFL team since 2017. He sued the NFL for colluding to keep him and former teammate Eric Reid out of the league, and they reached a surprise settlement for less than $10 million in February 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported. Kaepernick Publishing was established a month later, according to filings with the New York Department of State reviewed by the New York Times.

But he’s ready and raring to get back on the field, revealing he still trains for five days a week. “My desire to play football is still there,” Kaepernick said. “I’m ready to go, I’m ready for a phone call, tryout, workout at any point in time. I’m still waiting on the owners and their partners to stop running from this situation. So I hope I get a call this offseason. I’ll be looking forward to it.”

Read more: Football team reaches out to Colin Kaepernick, but not one you’ve heard of

The NFL tried organizing a workout for Kaepernick last year after none of the 32 NFL teams invited him to try out, but the unprecedented audition fell apart at the last minute when Kaepernick changed the location and refused to sign a liability waiver.

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