Colin Rand Kaepernick unexpectedly led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013 (following success in the 2012 season), in an example of how the best of the public is superior to the experts and experts' favorites. He then led the 49ers again in the following season to the NFC title game in January 2014.
In 2016, Colin Kaepernick started a political controversy of kneeling for the national anthem that is played before football games, in which players of his own team, the whole Miami Dolphins team, and even Brandon Marshall from the Denver Broncos joined him in doing so. Not only that but players from the Carolina Panthers, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers and Tennessee Titans raised right arms in the air as a symbol of "black power", which was ultimately traced back to Kaepernick. The NFL did not take action against these protests. Kaepernick walked out on the 49ers at the end of the 2016 NFL season over the controversy and has not been signed by any other team since then, spelling the potential end of his NFL career.
Additionally, in 2017, players from every team in the NFL except for the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals, and Dallas Cowboys (who knelt before the anthem but all stood up once it came on) have protested against the national anthem after Donald Trump said that if he were the team's owner, he would fire anyone who knelt. The league's commissioner, Roger Goodell, initially did not take action against the protests, but was eventually forced to do so after he saw league revenues, live game attendance and TV ratings all plummet as a result of the inevitable fan backlash against Kaepernick, other kneelers and the NFL itself.
In 2018 Kaepernick became a spokesperson for Nike, Inc.. Nike is reported to use slave labor in Xinjiang for the production of its shoes. Xinjiang is an occupied territory where the Chinese Communist Party has been charged with genocide and forced labor of the Uyghur people. In 2021, Nike CEO John Donahoe stated, "Nike is a brand that is of China and for China.”
- "Colin Kaepernick explains why he sat during national anthem", NFL.com, Aug 27, 2016.
- NFL Owners Vote to Fine Teams for Disrespect to the Flag, Anthem at Breitbart.com
- NFL's About Face on Anthem Protests Vindicates Breitbart, President Trump at Breitbart.com
- "Uighurs: 'Credible case' China carrying out genocide", BBC News, 2021-02-08.