The untold truth of Colin Kaepernick's girlfriend

Colin Kaepernick's girlfriend, Nessa Diab, may not be as well-known as her football-playing boyfriend, but the radio DJ and TV personality has led quite the impressive life. What's more, she may actually be the real reason behind Kaepernick's headline-making activism, including the #TakeAKnee movement.

Diab, who was raised for some time in Saudi Arabia, has spent the last decade building a name for herself on radio stations in California and New York and has even appeared on the small screen. If you're a fan of MTV and reality shows like Teen Mom, chances are she's a familiar face. When it comes to net worth, she may not be able to compete with the $22 million Newsweek valued her beau at back in 2016, but she's still worth a cool $2 million herself, according to Celebrity Net Worth, which is nothing to scoff at. And there's lots that many don't know about the media personality. From speaking at the United Nations to repeatedly slamming the NFL, and even getting into beef with rapper Travis Scott, Diab is nothing if not outspoken. Here's the untold truth of Colin Kaepernick girlfriend, Nessa Diab.

Her childhood was dangerous

Described by GQ as an "American Muslim who works in communities for social justice," Nessa Diab is extremely proud of her heritage. Speaking on the Guy Code podcast in 2014, she revealed she was "raised in Southern California," but, before that, she spent time in Saudi Arabia after her dad's job transferred them there. Opening up about the realities of living through the Gulf War and often seeing disastrous attacks around her, she recounted, "When 9/11 happened, it didn't surprise me at all," explaining, "This is what we went through, probably, every couple months." Which, of course, likely didn't make things any less scary.

Since returning to the United States, Diab has repeatedly slammed social injustices against Muslims. When Alton Sterling was killed by two police officers in 2016, she wrote on Instagram, "Don't let this 'system' now criminalize Alton Sterling to help justify these coward actions by the police. They will try and they will also try to discredit the store owner's account of what occurred because he's Muslim and we know Islamaphobia is at an all time high in this country."

She's also made it a point to educate her boyfriend about her religion. Kaepernick told the The Washington Post in 2016 that "the impact [of dating Nessa] is just conversations that we constantly have." He elaborated, "She is Muslim. Her family is Muslim, I have great respect for them."

An impressive resume

Nessa Diab has quite the impressive resume. A Southern California native, she received her bachelor's degree in mass communications from the University of California, Berkeley and went on to build an impressive career in radio and on the small screen.

Diab got her start at WiLD 94.4 FM in San Francisco  before she eventually accepted a job at WQHT Hot 97, the New York City station "where hip hop lives," in January 2015. There, she snagged the coveted evening commute slot, hosting Nessa on Air, which is syndicated in over 15 markets across the country. Opening up about her then-new gig, she told Hip-Hop DX, "As a woman, doing P.M. drive is everything!"  

Diab has also become a familiar face on MTV. Over the years, she has hosted a slew of reality shows, including Teen Mom Aftershow, Girl Code Live, and The Real World After Show. In April 2018, she was named the newest host of NBC's four-time Emmy-winning show Talk Stoop, which features candid celebrity interviews with everyone from Tyra Banks to Forest Whitaker.

She once dated Kaepernick's teammate

Before Colin Kaepernick and Nessa Diab made their relationship publicly official at a charity event during Valentine's Day weekend in February 2016, the radio personality was actually linked to one of Kaepernick's teammates, 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith. We're sure that was awkward situation, to say the least, and it reportedly sparked an altercation between the two men in August 2015.

As TMZ reported, citing what they called "locker room sources," not only did the two players get into a fight on the football field during practice at the San Francisco 49ers training camp, but, to make matters worse, things reportedly got physical. So physical, in fact, that one source told the outlet that "players had to pull them apart." Yikes.

Although there was never any confirmation of what actually caused the alleged fight, Fox Sports made the probable connection when reporting on Kaepernick and Diab's official relationship announcement, writing, "Now we may know the reason for that on-field fight…"

Kaepernick's biggest fan

When Kaepernick landed his second GQ cover in 2017 (his first was in 2013), the outlet asked a number of personalities to weigh in on "one of the most gifted quarterbacks on earth," including rapper J. Cole, singer/activist Harry Belafonte, and Diab, who made it very clear she couldn't be prouder of her man. "Colin has always been helping people, he has always been involved, because he has empathy," she gushed. "I'm very fortunate that I have Colin next to me. It's everything. We love each other, we care for each other, and we have to remind each other that, hey, we're doing our part, we're trying to make a difference."

Diab has also sung the pro athlete's praises on social media. For instance, in August 2016, she tweeted a link to a San Francisco Chronicle article documenting Kaepernick's decision to continue kneeling and proclaimed, "I'm always proud of him and always will be @Kaepernick7. Please take the time to UNDERSTAND what he is saying."  

The UN sure approves

In 2015, Diab was invited to speak at the United Nations in honor of Women's History Month, according to All Access. During her visit, she reportedly encouraged women and young girls to follow their career dreams while sharing her own experiences as a female working in media. She also moderated an open conversation about the stereotypes and barriers faced by many women in her field. 

Speaking about the huge honor, Colin Kaepernick's girlfriend declared in a press release (via All Access), "I believe on-air personalities don't have to be a male to attract young females or be an overtly sexual woman to attract males." She also made sure to include a shout-out to her employer, gushing, "HOT 97 has always been at the forefront of employing women as leaders, which is why I am here today. My bosses, Rick Cummings and Jimmy Steal, truly support women as key players and have given me the platform to help promote female equality."

She may have influenced #TakeAKnee

Could it be that Kaepernick's iconic (and headline-making) #TakeAKnee movement wasn't originally his idea, but rather the brainchild of Diab? Several sources seem to think so.

In a 2017 feature titled "The Awakening of Colin Kaepernick," The New York Times pointed out that Diab, an outspoken activist herself, "has had a measure of influence on Kaepernick's views over the past two years." The outlet credited her with introducing the footballer to fellow activists like African American studies scholar Ameer Hasan Loggins, whom she asked to recommend books for Kaepernick.

Fox News made a similar observation, pointing out that — soon after the couple got together in late 2015 — Kaepernick's social media accounts began reflecting the "Black Lives Matter and Muslim activism of Diab." As they noted, "31 of his last 42 posts have strong social justice connotations," with quotes from the likes of Malcolm X and Huey Newton, the founder of the Black Panthers. Sports blogger Terez Owens went even further, reporting that sources told him "it was actually his girlfriend Nessa's idea for Colin to protest."

Did she cost Kaepernick a job?

Following Kaepernick's headline-making #TakeAKnee movement, the quarterback became a free agent, but he was unable to find work. Believing it to be purely personal, he filed an official grievance that accused NFL owners of colluding together to push him out of the league. According to fellow player Ray Lewis, however, he couldn't find work because of Diab. 

Lewis, who used to play for the Baltimore Ravens, told Inside the NFL (via The Guardian) that Kaepernick almost got a job in 2017, but a tweet sent out by Diab ruined that chance. "We were going to close the deal to sign him," he said. "[Ravens owner] Steve Bisciotti said: 'I want to hear Colin Kaepernick speak to let me know that he wants to play football.' And it never happened because that picture comes up the next day."

The picture in question was posted by Diab in August 2017, and it showed an image of Lewis and Biscotti above a still of Samuel L. Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio from the movie Django Unchained. In the film, Jackson plays a slave while DiCaprio plays his owner. "[Diab] goes out and put out this racist gesture and doesn't know we are in the back office about to try to get this guy signed," Lewis elaborated. "Steve Bisciotti has said it himself: 'How can you crucify Ray Lewis when Ray Lewis is the one calling for Colin Kaepernick?'"

She keeps slamming the NFL

If there's one thing Nessa Diab refuses to do, it's keep quiet when she believes something to be an injustice. Which might explain why she can't stop slamming the NFL.

In May 2017, Diab was one of the first people to respond to a tweet from Bleacher Report that accused the NFL of "shunning Colin Kaepernick because of his politics, not his play," writing, "Read ONLY if you want #facts. The truth will we set you free. Thank you again @mikefreemanNFL for FACTS." 

She became even more vocal in November 2018, responding to a tweet from The Athletic's Joseph Person who quoted Kaepernick's former teammate and friend Eric Reid as saying, "[Kaepernick] wants to play. He's ready to play." Diab confirmed the statement… and added a BIG dose of shade. "Colin trains everyday," she tweeted. "All the teams know. But they'd rather keep blackballing him. The league, owners and management are the ones who don't want him to play." She added that "journalists should ask the league why they're blackballing Colin."

That December, Diab fired off at the NFL again, this time on Instagram. Sharing a photo of herself holding her boyfriend's hand, she wrote, "I really don't like y'all. If it wasn't for @kaepernick7 I probably would have slapped the [poop emoji] out of all you clowns. But I'm a better person now. Lol."

Watch out, Travis Scott

The 2019 Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show seemed to be marred in endless controversy, including beef between Nessa Diab and performer Travis Scott. After top choice Rihanna turned down the gig — "She said no because of the kneeling controversy. She doesn't agree with the NFL's stance," a source told Us Weekly — Maroon 5, Big Boi, and Scott accepted, sparking major backlash.

While a Change.org petition urged Maroon 5 to "drop out" as a show of support for Colin Kaepernick, Diab took it upon herself to personally call out Scott. Soon after Variety reported that the rapper had reached out to Kaepernick via phone before confirming his involvement in the halftime show, Colin Kaepernick's girlfriend accused him of being a liar. Responding to a tweet sent out by Complex, which read, "Travis Scott spoke to Colin Kaepernick about his upcoming Super Bowl halftime gig and sources say 'they emerged from the conversation with mutual respect and understanding,'" Diab wrote, "There is NO mutual respect and there is NO understanding for anyone working against @Kaepernick7 PERIOD. #stoplying."