Things you didn't know about Colin Kaepernick

Whether or not you're a fan of San Francisco football, you may have noticed quarterback Colin Kaepernick's name popping up a lot in your news feeds. His recent political protest, in which he remained seated during the National Anthem to draw attention to systemic racism against people of color, stirred up a whirlwind of debate. Amid the cacophony, it's easy to lose sight of the man at the center of it all. Let's take a closer look at some of the other interesting aspects of Kaepernick's life.

He was drafted by the Chicago Cubs

Yes, the baseball team. While he was still in college in 2009, Kaepernick received a draft offer from Chicago's National League team. Kaepernick declined, choosing instead to finish out his bachelor's degree in business management at the University of Nevada. He joined the San Francisco 49ers in 2011 as a second-round draft pick. The fact that the Cubs were interested—43rd-round interested, but still—is not as out of left field as it sounds. Kaepernick was an impressive baseball player, pitching at both the high school and college level.

He used to be better at baseball

Initially, Kaepernick was far better at baseball than football and attracted more attention from scouts and the media for his skills on the diamond than the gridiron. But his love was always football, so despite the discouragement of coaches, and an abundance of scholarship offers from college baseball programs, Kaepernick went with the only college that offered him a football scholarship: the University of Nevada. It seems his conviction to play football has been unwavering, but one has to wonder, it it had been any other Major League team other than the perennially luckless Cubs, would he have wavered?

He's adopted

Kaepernick's protest during the National Anthem raised questions about his background. He is mixed-race. His birth mother, at age 19, searched for an adoptive family who could provide for her son in ways that she couldn't. She chose Rick and Teresa Kaepernick, who are both white. The adoption explains the significant size advantage Colin has over his adoptive parents—both his birth mother and birth father were reportedly 6'2".

He's been in trouble with the NFL before

This isn't the first time Kaepernick has found his name in the news for controversial reasons. In 2014, he drew a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct and an $11,025 fine over some allegedly inappropriate words. The infraction occurred during a game with the Chicago Bears. Kaepernick got into it with defensive lineman Lamarr Houston on the sidelines, drawing the attention of the referee in a game the 49ers eventually lost. Kaepernick insisted he hadn't said anything offensive, but Houston and league management disagreed.

He predicted his own future

Talk about making a decision and sticking to it: in fourth grade, Kaepernick wrote an adorable letter to his future self and bet big on his good fortune, writing "I hope to go to a good college…then go to the pros and play on the Niners and the Packers even if they aren't good in seven years." He closed his note with "Sincerly, Colin" [sic]. He even nailed his projected height: 6'4", so don't let anybody tell you not to dream big, kids.

His job is on the line

In addition to the scrutiny that's been heaped on Kaepernick as a result of his political statement—the owners of several teams are reportedly livid with him over it—he's already been fighting to secure his status on the 49ers. Drafted in the second round in 2011, he was getting play as the starting quarterback by 2012 and started in the team's 2013 Super Bowl loss to the Baltimore Ravens. In recent years, Kaepernick has faced increasing pressure to justify his staring role. In 2015, he lost the starting position to Blaine Gabbert, and beginning the 2016 season hobbled by injuries means his chances of reclaiming the spot look smaller than ever. Under current circumstances, the future holds a lot of unknowns for Kaepernick, but knowing his history, we can be sure the outspoken sportsman will face them head-on.