Colin Kaepernick has a new job, but not in the NFL

Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has remained unsigned in the NFL ever since 2017, one season after first taking a knee during the national anthem before a preseason game in September 2016. (The protest initially began with Kaepernick sitting during the anthem in August of that year, but he switched to kneeling.) He's remained at the center of the discussion about police brutality and racial injustice in America, but off the field. Luckily, Kaepernick has a new job — and it's a total departure from his football days. 

Many believe that Kaepernick has remained unsigned as a free agent in the NFL because of his political stance. After his kneeling caught national attention, there were extremely polarized responses to his protest. Many misunderstood the meaning behind the gesture and felt that he was disrespecting the military and the American flag, though just as many people spoke out in support of his protest — even veterans who actually understood his intention.

Either way, Kaepernick stands by his protest, per the Undefeated. He said after that first game, "I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed." And while his new job isn't tied to sports, he's still using his voice to speak out about what's important to him.

Colin Kaepernick will probably never play football again

Not caring about "approval" might've cost Colin Kaepernick his football career, as many NFL fans believe teams haven't signed the quarterback because of his activism. However, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in June 2020 (per ESPN), "If he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then obviously it's going to take a team to make that decision. But I welcome that, support a club making that decision and encourage them to do that."

Goodell added, "If his efforts are not on the field but continuing to work in [activism], we welcome him to that table and to help us, guide us, help us make better decisions about the kinds of things that need to be done in the communities. We have invited him in before, and we want to make sure that everybody's welcome at that table and trying to help us deal with some very complex, difficult issues that have been around for a long time."

Still, NFL teams reportedly ask players to commit to standing during the anthem, something Kap and his former fellow 49er, safety Eric Reid, just couldn't abide by and seemingly paid the price for, per The Guardian. Although Reid ultimately signed a three-year deal with the Panthers in February 2019, the NFL Players Association filed a "collusion grievance," claiming that "team owners and the league, influenced by President Donald Trump, colluded to prevent Reid's employment because of his protests against social injustice," per ESPN.

Colin Kaepernick's new job will help elevate Black voices

Since he's not playing ball, Colin Kaepernick has dedicated himself to activism and his new job lines up with that. In June 2020, Kaepernick announced he would be joining the board of Medium and writing about race and racism in America.

Medium founder Evan Williams said, per TMZ, "In addition to the board seat, Medium will partner with Colin and Kaepernick Publishing to create and feature stories focused on race and civil rights in America, and to elevate emerging voices from communities of color." He added, "I know he will bring valuable insights and leadership to Medium, especially in this moment when the world is finally catching up to his vision on racial justice."

Per TMZ, Kap also commented on the new gig: "I am excited for Kaepernick Publishing to partner with Medium to continue to elevate Black voices in the news and publishing industry. I also look forward to creating new opportunities and avenues for Black writers and creators with my new role as a Board Member."

Kaepernick created his publishing venture in 2019. Its mission statement reads: "Kaepernick Publishing believes reading is a liberator of the mind and will give us the thoughts and ideas to free our bodies. By elevating a new generation of writers and creators, we seek to inspire all generations of readers and listeners through the development and publication of meaningful works of all genres with the focus of amplifying diverse views and voices."

Colin Kaepernick got the NFL to support Black Lives Matter

Although Colin Kaepernick hasn't played in the NFL since 2017, he will likely go down in history as one of the most influential players of his time, no matter how you feel about his protest and the meaning behind it. Since his initial kneel, many athletes and public figures have expressed their solidarity with him, some sooner than others.

In fact, Kap even got the NFL to change its tune about the protest — at least publicly. In a recent June 2020 video, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell expressed their support of the Black Lives Matter movement, though they did not mention Kaepernick by name. "We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter," the organization tweeted.

Maybe this means that the NFL support players who want to kneel during the national anthem going forward. If not, hopefully Kaepernick will probably write about it at his new gig.