THE EVOLUTION OF A MESSENGER
By: Mark Carven Olds, Managing Director –
Midwest Minority Think Tank for Public Policy, Leadership, and Service, LLC
Colin Kaepernick has arrived into the conversation of America and the world. His name is now on the lips of people who are not football enthusiasts. Many may not know his position on the field, or what a quarterback really does. Colin Kaepernick is now a 28 year old male, who has viewed the reality of being Black in America. His vision of this reality has ignited a growing movement among his peers. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was only 26, when the Montgomery Bus Boycott leadership mantle was thrust upon him. We now recognize that beginning to be associated with the Civil Rights Movement. The core values of the Civil Rights Movement all lead to justice.
Colin Kaepernick has emerged as a leader by simply following a process set before him. He has come forth through a system that adored him as a:
- Student Athlete loved,
- Professional Athlete adored, and
- Courageous Man of Integrity misunderstood.
As a student athlete, his potential was highly appreciated. Colin began playing football at age 8. He went on to win several punt, pass, and kick contests. Colin was nourished and nurtured through every level of competition both academically and athletically. He graduated from John H. Pittman High School in Turlock, California with 4.0 GPA. Colin was a dominate basketball player. Colin was nominated as an All-State Baseball, Basketball, and Football Player. He was drafted by the Chicago Cubs out of high school to be a professional baseball player; instead, he chose the path to become a student athlete. He was applauded as a student athlete at the University of Nevada Reno. He was trained for life after his collegiate career. He was armed with an education both academically and athletically. Colin was loved as a student athlete.
As a professional athlete, he was adored by fans as he led the San Francisco 49’ers to an appearance in the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship Game in 2013, only his second and third years in the league. He set multiple records during that span including the most rushing yards (181) eclipsing Michael Vick’s old mark of 173. Colin Kaepernick was rewarded with a 126 million dollar contract with 54 million guaranteed. His team and fans adored Colin as a professional athlete.
As a courageous man of integrity, Colin’s education and cultural experiences has taught him life learning beyond the classroom and the athletic field. He has learned what it means to be a Black man in America. He has learned his history. He has been trained in the system’s halls of higher learning. He has reached the system’s stage of visibility through its athletic arena. On this stage, Colin Kaepernick has chosen to sit or kneel to show that he has learned the meaning of the United States Constitution. He has chosen to be a Black man, a courageous Black man, rather than just a professional athlete. For being a courageous Black man, Colin Kaepernick has received death threats. For being a man, a courageous man of integrity, Colin Kaepernick has been misunderstood.
May Colin Kaepernick’s decision to become a courageous man of integrity challenge his peers and his generation to launch a Movement for Justice for Black People in America.
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