Colin Kaepernick is still out of a job, but that’s not stopping him from dedicating his off-season time to charitable causes.
Kaepernick, who opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers at the end of the season and has not since signed with another team, has been trying to bring attention to and wrangle supplies to help alleviate the ongoing famine in Somalia.
He made a plea on social media for help in securing a Turkish Airlines plane (the only airline to fly to Somalia) to transport supplies. Kaepernick’s plea worked in getting a plane for the humanitarian mission, and the athlete is continuing his effort to get food, water and other supplies to the impoverished nation.
He is working alongside actor Ben Stiller and his Stiller Foundation as well as the Love Army for Somalia to get the word out and get relief to the country until the famine is eradicated.
Kaepernick also seems to have made an enemy out of President Donald Trump for not standing for the national anthem at the start of 49ers games last season. At a rally in Kentucky, Trump said he credits Kaepernick’s unemployment to the fact that NFL coaches and owners don’t want to earn his presidential ire, saying “They don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump. Do you believe that?”
The QB’s continued lack of employment is mainly due to some executives thinking he can’t play anymore, some teams’ fears of fan backlash and general disgust and dislike for his actions from high-level execs, according to reporting from The Bleacher Report.
Kaepernick’s unemployment situation, though seemingly unusual for this time period, is not unique in the sports world. Muhammad Ali was famously blacklisted for his views on the Vietnam War and activism with the Civil Rights Movement.
His symbolic activism is not the first of its kind, either. Olympic sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith made a bold political statement at the 1968 games by raising their fists during the playing of the national anthem during the medal ceremony, causing them to be kicked out of the Olympic village and resulting in widespread backlash.