Oscar-winning director Spike Lee is working on a Colin Kaepernick documentary meant to tell the unvarnished truth about his role in the NFL anthem protests. Lee told Entertainment Weekly about the ESPN documentary on the red carpet of the 2nd annual Academy Museum gala.
He revealed that although Kaepernick last played in the NFL in 2016, he still trains as though he could be called on to return to the league.
“Six years the National Football League has stopped him from playing,” Lee told ET’s Cassie DiLaura. “He still gets up at 4 or 4:30 every morning to train, five to six days a week. So when that next phone call comes, he’ll be ready. He’ll be ready.”
Kaepernick, who is biracial, was raised by white adoptive parents in Northern California. He took the San Francisco 49ers to Super Bowl XLVII in 2012 where they ultimately lost to the Baltimore Ravens. During the 2016 season, Kaepernick first sat, then kneeled during the national anthem, sparking a series of protests as his stance became politicized.
By contrast, Seattle Seahawks player Marshawn Lynch always sat during the anthem, but it went largely unnoticed by the media and never become an issue. Though Kaepernick maintained that he kneeled because of the brutality and murder of Black men and women by the police and the racism within America, a narrative was created that he was disrespecting veterans and the police.
That narrative became a firestorm as some fans swore off the NFL because of the protests while others swore off the NFL because of the response to the protests. Kaepernick never played a down of football again and became an activist, pledging and ultimately donating a million dollars to ten social justice organizations and running his social justice foundation and camp.
He also collaborated with Ava Duvernay on a Netflix series “Colin In Black and White” and has a graphic novel, “Change the Game” due out in 2023, about his high school years.
Kaepernick and former teammate Eric Reid ultimately won an undisclosed settlement from the NFL based on allegations that the league colluded to keep them from returning to a team.
In August, Kaepernick and his longtime girlfriend, Nessa Diab, announced on Instagram they had become parents, which Lee reposted.
Lee was announced as the doc’s director in February. It will include never before seen footage and interviews with Kaepernick who has remained mostly silent during the years since his anthem protests, even after the racial uprising of 2020 made clear that his protest was not without merit. Lee says the documentary will show the real truth behind the false narratives that destroyed Kaepernick’s NFL career.
“It’s his story, not the false narratives,” Lee concluded.