Colin Kaepernick On His New Publishing Company: ‘The Colonization Has Been Done Forever. I Wanted Ownership Over My Story’

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Written by Ann Brown
Former NFL player Colin Kaepernick may be tired of other people telling his story. He’s ready to tell it on his own terms. FILE – Dec. 2016, file photo, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Former NFL player Colin Kaepernick may be tired of other people telling his story. He’s ready to tell it on his own terms. Kaepernick, who was blackballed from the NFL after taking a knee during the National Anthem to protest police brutality against African Americans, has announced he’s writing his memoir and he’s releasing it on his newly formed company, Kaepernick Publishing, in a partnership with Audible.

“I learned early on that in fighting against systematic oppression, dehumanization and colonization, who controls the narrative shapes the reality of how the world views society,” Kaepernick told USA Today Sports in an exclusive interview. “It controls who’s loved, who’s hated, who’s degraded and who’s celebrated.”

The 32-year-old hasn’t played for the NFL since 2017 when he was signed by the San Francisco 49ers.

“His yet-to-be-named memoir should fill in the gaps of the past few years, as well as provide more insight on the motivation and methods behind his activism. Though  Kaepernick has been engaged in self-empowerment efforts for Black and brown people through his Know Your Rights Camps, he has rarely conducted news media interviews or been available in other public forums,” USA Today Sports reported.

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“I’ve had a lot of questions surrounding what got me to the point of protesting,” he said. “Why did I do it? Why did I do it at that moment? Why wasn’t it earlier in my career? A lot of questions surrounding what led me to that point. Which led me to wanting to share that story and give insight. So I think there’s a lot of interest around it, but time will tell when the book comes out.”

Kaepernick Publishing will release an audio version and content from other authors through Audible, a subsidiary of Amazon.

Kaepernick said he started Kaepernick Publishing to create opportunities for Black and Brown writers, authors, and creators to control their own narratives as well as to retain ownership.

“It’s not just my control over stories,” Kaepernick said to USA Today. “We wanted to be able to put the power back into the hands of the people that are telling the stories and the people that are writing the stories and creating them. We didn’t want to monopolize that and hold that to ourselves. It’s something that should be distributed to the people who are putting in the work to be able to tell their stories and tell them in a genuine and authentic way.”  

According to a press release from Audible, the publisher also plans to offer “unprecedented ownership options” to collaborators and bring “greater diversity and representation to literature and the spoken word.”

Kaepernick said he’s always had an interest in publishing and writing.

“I’ve always had an interest in books,” he said. “I’ve had an interest in Black literature. ‘The Autobiography of Malcolm X’ was a book that changed my life, so much that every Know Your Rights camp that we have, we give the book to all of the youth that attend. And Black literature was something that was key to developing my own thoughts and ideas of how to navigate the spaces that I enter. So I not only wanted to give insight into what led me to protest through my memoir, I wanted to make sure I was able to retain the ownership over my story in the process.”

In fact, it may have been a quote from Malcolm X that made Kaepernick want to maintain control over his own story.

“One of the quotes that comes to mind is Malcolm X’s quote, ‘If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people that are being oppressed and loving the people that are doing the oppressing.’ He’s speaking to the control of the narrative. So for me recognizing the importance of our community being able to control our own narratives and tell our own stories, this is something I thought had to be the next steppingstone for us to properly address and identify not only how we view ourselves, view our communities and how we tell our stories but also giving the world to view us in the way that we want them to as well.”