It's safe to say that while Colin Kaepernick has not played in the NFL for years, he is still immensely popular among fans.
On Thursday, Nike released a limited edition all-black No. 7 jersey to commemorate Kaepernick's national anthem protest's fourth anniversary. The 32-year-old began kneeling during the "Star-Spangled Banner" in 2016 as a quarterback on the San Francisco 49ers in an effort to raise awareness for police brutality and systemic racism.
According to CBS News, Kaepernick's $150 monochromatic "Icon Jersey 2.0" sold out just moments after it was released Thursday morning.
"Four years ago, Colin Kaepernick first took a knee to peacefully protest against systemic racism and social injustice," Nike said of the item on its website. "In the years since, he’s used his platform as an athlete to help advance the liberation and well-being of Black & Brown communities."
"Through his continuous commitment, the number 7 jersey has become an iconic symbol for progress and positive change," the company continued. "Colin and Nike team up together once again, this time with a Triple Black jersey, paying homage to the anniversary of Kaepernick seeking what’s true."
After leaving the 49ers in 2016, Kaepernick has gone unsigned by NFL teams and alleged in a lawsuit against the league that they conspired to keep him from playing for starting the kneeling movement.
Last year, Kaepernick’s attorneys announced that he had reached a settlement with the NFL in a joint public statement, which also confirmed a settlement has been reached with former 49ers teammate Eric Reid, who filed a grievance against the NFL in May 2018, according to ESPN. Reid had participated in the kneeling protests alongside Kaepernick.
In 2018, NFL owners had voted unanimously to approve a policy that would fine teams for players who kneeled during the national anthem. According to Rolling Stone, that decision was later postponed after the Miami Dolphins threatened to fine players for four games if they took a knee.
"Four years ago, I took a knee to protest against systemic racism and social injustice," Kaepernick wrote on Instagram Thursday while announcing the jersey. "It was that day that the number on my jersey would come to represent something greater than football, something greater than me."
"Since then, the number 7 jersey has become a symbol for advancing the liberation and well-being of Black & Brown communities," he added. "Thank you for staying True."
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell recently expressed regret about not having listened to Kaepernick and other players who chose to kneel during the anthem.
"It has been a difficult time for our country," Goodell said in a video posted to Instagram in June. "In particular, Black people in our country. First, my condolences to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all the families who have endured police brutality."
"We, the National Football League, condemn racism and systematic oppression of black people," he continued. "[We] admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest."
In a recent interview with former linebacker Emmanuel Acho, Goodell was asked what he would tell Kaepernick if given the chance to speak to him.
"Well the first thing I'd say is I wish we had listened earlier, Kap, to what you were kneeling about and what you were trying to bring attention to," Goodell said on Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man.
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