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Netflix series to dramatize Kaepernick’s path to activism

In this Nov. 16, 2019 file photo, free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick arrives for a workout for NFL football scouts and media in Riverdale, Ga.
In this Nov. 16, 2019 file photo, free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick arrives for a workout for NFL football scouts and media in Riverdale, Ga.(AP Photo/Todd Kirkland, File)
Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 12:58 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 29, 2020 at 1:09 PM CDT
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Colin Kaepernick is joining with Emmy-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay on a Netflix drama series about the teenage roots of the former NFL player’s activism.

"Colin in Black & White" will examine Kaepernick's high school years to illuminate the experiences that shaped his advocacy, Netflix said Monday.

"Too often we see race and Black stories portrayed through a white lens," Kaepernick said in a statement. "We seek to give new perspective to the differing realities that Black people face. We explore the racial conflicts I faced as an adopted Black man in a white community, during my high school years."

Kaepernick, born to a white mother and Black father, was adopted in Wisconsin by a white couple who moved to California when he was a child.

In 2016, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback began kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality, drawing both support and criticism, with his detractors including President Donald Trump. Kaepernick became a free agent in 2017 but went unsigned.

Writing on the six-episode series was completed in May, the streaming service said. DuVernay, writer Michael Starrbury and Kaepernick are the executive producers. Kaepernick will appear as himself as the limited series' narrator, Netflix said.

Further casting details and a release date were not immediately announced.

Kaepernick called it an honor to collaborate with DuVernay, whose credits include the award-winning "When They See Us," which dramatized the Central Park Five case, and the Oscar-nominated documentary "13th."

"With his act of protest, Colin Kaepernick ignited a national conversation about race and justice with far-reaching consequences for football, culture and for him, personally," DuVernay said in a statement. "Colin's story has much to say about identity, sports and the enduring spirit of protest and resilience."

Kaepernick, who led the 49ers to the Super Bowl following the 2012 season, filed a grievance against the league in 2017, contending teams colluded to keep him out. The sides reached an undisclosed settlement in 2019.

The 32-year-old Kaepernick still wants an opportunity to play. A workout in Atlanta last November that was organized by the NFL turned chaotic and resulted in no job offers.

In the aftermath of nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell apologized to players for not listening to them earlier and encouraged them to protest peacefully. Goodell says he's encouraged teams to sign Kaepernick.

"This young man is talented enough to play in the National Football League," league executive Troy Vincent said recently.

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