Right now, Colin Kaepernick’s name has been flying through the air over and over again on both sports channels and even some entertainment channels. He’s getting more attention now than he did when he surprisingly took over for Alex Smith very early in his career with the 49ers – and it’s all because of his protest. In case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard, Kaepernick stirred up a ton of controversy when he made the decision to sit during the singing of the national anthem before one of the 49ers’ preseason games. The decision, according to Kaepernick, was a racial one – he stated that he did not want to stand for the anthem until there were changes made to the way people of color were treated in America. Just like the Black Power salute at the 1968 Olympic Games, it was a profound statement by an athlete that definitely caught the world’s attention and got people talking.
The reactions to Kaepernick’s move have been very mixed. Some athletes, celebrities and sports professionals stand with him and totally agree with his move, saying that it was something that was necessary to bring the conversation to the forefront and that they applauded his choice. Others slammed him, saying the move was disrespectful to America and to the veterans who fought to protect the country. Through it all, Kaepernick has just been trying to stick to his beliefs and what he feels his right – and play some good football.
So, curious about the man behind the NFL preseason’s biggest scandal? Here are 15 things you might not know about Colin Kaepernick.
15 He's Quite The Baseball Player
There’s no question that most professional athletes are fairly athletic in general – after all, you need to be able to excel at a variety of things, from strength to speed, when you’re competing at that level. However, the majority of athletes who end up going pro in a particular sport really place their focus on that sport, at least when they get a bit older. Kaepernick’s story is a little bit different. While he was still in university, Kaepernick actually got a draft offer from the Chicago Cubs – that’s right, in addition to making the NFL, he was also offered a spot on an MLB roster. Kaepernick obviously decided to decline the offer and finish out his degree, and eventually the NFL came calling as well, selecting him as a second round draft pick. Already having a draft offer under his belt from earlier likely calmed Kaepernick’s nerves a little bit – after all, if it happened once, it would surely happen again.
14 He Loves Sour Patch Kids
Most of the time, NFL players keep a pretty clean diet filled with lean proteins, vegetables, and whole grain carbohydrates. After all, their entire job depends on their ability to perform well on the field – so, even though they’re burning a ton of calories with their workouts, it’s certainly not in their best interests to fuel their bodies with junk. However, most players have one or two junk food vices – just think of Marshawn Lynch and his legendary love for skittles. Kaepernick is no different. Apparently, the quarterback has a deep love for another sweet yet sour confection – Sour Patch Kids. While fans haven’t started showering him with the treats on the sidelines yet, his love of the candy is well known enough that the 49ers gave him a birthday cake shaped like a Sour Patch Kid when he turned 26. There, now you know the way into Kaepernick’s heart.
13 This Wasn’t His First Bit Of Trouble With The NFL
Since Kaepernick is relatively new in the NFL, having only been in the league for a handful of years, you might assume that this National Anthem controversy is the first time he’s gotten into some hot water with the NFL – but it’s not. Back in 2014, Kaepernick got a fine of $11,025 and a penalty for unsportsmanlike contact and alleged inappropriate words. The incident took place during a game against the Bears, when Kaepernick and Lamarr Houston exchanged some tense words on the sideline. While Kaepernick claimed he didn’t say anything offensive, the referee ruled against him and he got his first taste of what being in hot water feels like in the NFL (although that was obviously a more minor incident than his current protest). Luckily, his current protest doesn’t involve exchanging many words during the actual protesting, so he’ll hopefully be able to escape a killer fine at the very least.
12 He Loves Disney Movies
When you hear that Colin Kaepernick is a bit of a movie buff, you might assume that his favourites are testosterone-packed action flicks with plenty of tough guys, car chases and shoot-out scenes. It couldn’t be further from the truth. While Kaepernick may very well enjoy an action film from time to time, his true love is Disney films. That’s right – the tough NFL quarterback absolutely loves sweet as pie Disney flicks. Allegedly, his favourites are The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Despicable Me and How To Train Your Dragon. Now, the only question is, was he one of the first in line to see Finding Dory? Perhaps his NFL status snagged him access to an advanced screening with some of his teammates’ children? Does he have Disney paraphernalia in his house, or is his love strictly for the films? We’re dying to know just how deep his love of Disney truly runs.
11 He Has A Pet Tortoise
We swear we’re telling the truth. This is something that most true Kaepernick fans will know, but it’s also one of the most surprising facts. When you think of an NFL player’s pets, chances are you think of a fairly large, tough dog who can perhaps accompany them on training runs and guard their house while they’re at practice. Kaepernick went in a bit of a different direction when it came to choosing his childhood pet and opted for a tortoise. He got his tortoise, Sammy, when he was just 10 years old, but as you know, tortoises have pretty long life spans – so even though his life is drastically different than when he was a child, he still has Sammy by his side. Luckily, his NFL salary probably means the 115-pound pet has plenty of room to move around. Does he ever take Sammy on the road? We have so many questions.
10 He Started Young
In order to attain the level of excellence that a professional athlete has, they need to start training early in life. Sure, there are a few flukes who take up the sport in high school and progress so rapidly that the pro leagues are calling their name within a few years – but those are the exceptions. In most cases, when you ask a professional athlete about their athletic past, they’ll share that they were the star player on their little league or school team and have been on the court or on the field for as long as they could remember. Kaepernick’s story is similar. He started playing football when he was just eight years old, and got upgraded to the quarterback slot when he was 9. That meant he had roughly a decade of practice before hitting college and eventually the NFL – that’s a lot of time spent perfecting that spiral!
9 His Tattoos Are Profound
It’s certainly not unusual to find an NFL player with a ton of tattoos gracing his carefully honed physique, but Kaepernick’s aren’t just silly images or song lyrics. As most will know, Kaepernick is pretty religious, but his tattoos are surprisingly applicable to both his religious beliefs and his career path. Two of the tattoos on his arms are Psalms 27:3 and Psalms 18:39 from the bible, which are roughly “though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident” and “you armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me.” He also has “Against All Odds” tattooed on his chest. Kaepernick’s ink proves he definitely isn’t a guy who’s going to pick out silly characters from a tattoo shop book when he’s drunk – they’re nearly all profound tattoos with a meaningful impact on his life.
8 He Popularized His Very Own Celebration Move
Many NFL players have a certain type of celebration ritual at the end zone, or at the very least the ability to bust out the latest trendy dance move, but the ones who create a truly memorable celebration move are few and far between. You can probably count them on one hand – for example, Tebowing. Kaepernick made his mark fairly early in his career through Kaepernicking, a move where he flexes his arm and kisses his bicep. It’s allegedly supposed to be him kissing his tattoo as a way of showing his love of God, but let’s be honest – it’s also an effective celebration because there’s a certain amount of swagger in the move. It’s kind of like saying – hey, look at this powerful arm that just helped our team score a touchdown against you, and we’ll probably do it again. Soon after he started, people around the world were taking selfies of themselves Kaepernicking because why not?
7 He’s Adopted
Unlike many of his team mates, some of who are standing by him in his National Anthem protest, Kaepernick was not raised by African-American parents. Kaepernick’s father abandoned his birth mother, who had him when she was just 19, when he found out she was pregnant, and his mother didn’t feel equipped to provide for her son at that stage in her life, so she opted to put him up for adoption – and she ended up finding a lovely couple. Kaepernick ended up being adopted by his parents, Rick and Teresa, who are both white (Kaepernick is half African-American, on his father’s side). There’s no question that he looks a little bit different than his parents – skin color aside, he also towers over them, a trait that he gets from his parents who were both very tall – but the way they’re always showing up at games and supporting their son proves that he definitely had an upbringing filled with love.
6 He Has A Unique Religious Background
Everyone knows that Kaepernick’s faith is an important part of who he is – but he hasn’t exactly had the most straightforward path through the church. When it comes to religious, Kaepernick is a bit of a mixed individual. He was originally baptized as a Methodist when he was youth, then when it came to the sacrament of confirmation, he had that done in the Lutheran church. Then, when he was in college, he attended Baptist services at the University of Nevada. He still prays before every game and obviously incorporates his faith and beliefs into his life, but we can’t help but wonder what type of church Kaepernick attends nowadays – and whether he just takes his pick on the denomination, since he’s been to so many. Given his diverse history, perhaps he’s the type of Christian who prefers to pray solo rather than actually attend mass (plus it’s probably tough to squeeze in mass with his busy schedule on Sundays!).
5 He Had A 4.1 GPA In High School
Professional athletes are a diverse bunch. Some are fairly book smart individuals who could have easily gone on to pursue a regular career after earning their degree, and just happened to be steered to the NFL because of their athletic prowess. Others have never really enjoyed being in the classroom and basically just kept their GPA up high enough to be eligible for drafting, first by colleges, and then by the NFL. Kaepernick was in the first group. Just because of its proximity to the city of Las Vegas, don’t think that Kaepernick’s time at the University of Nevada was simply filled with partying. When he was in high school, the young Kaepernick actually had a 4.1 GPA – so we’re betting that eligibility didn’t really cause him any stress. In fact, he didn’t want to take the easy way, no matter what – when a spot opened up in his schedule that he could use to relax, Kaepernick filled it with a psychology course instead!
4 He’s A Bit Of A Fortune Teller
Many professional athletes expressed the desire to one day be a professional athlete when they were quite young – after all, many of them looked up to athletic icons growing up and wanted to follow in their footsteps. However, Colin Kaepernick predicted things with eerie accuracy. When he was just in fourth grade, not long after he started playing football, he wrote down his vision for the future – and you’d be surprised how right he ended up being. According to a young Kaepernick, “I think in 7 years I will be between 6 ft to 6’4, 140 lbs. I hope I go to a good college in football, then go to the pros and play on the Niners or the Packers, even if they aren’t good in seven years.” So you see, even if others doubted whether he would make it in such a competitive league, Colin knew all along that he’d be jogging into that stadium for a Super Bowl game.
3 He’s A Movie Buff
When you think of a professional athlete, you might think that they spend their free time using their pro athlete status to get into the coolest clubs, or to go on the type of shopping sprees they may not have been able to afford before they had pro athlete salary coming in. You don’t really picture them sitting on their couch watching Netflix – but apparently Kaepernick would be a-ok with a Netflix and chill date, based on his hobbies. The quarterback is apparently a huge movie fan who owns over 250 films – a collection that is likely growing with every new release that comes onto the market which peaks his interest. Hey, we totally get it – after a long day of training and press and pushing your body to its physical limits, it’s probably pretty fantastic to just veg on the couch with a great movie. Now, the question is, is he a comedy guy or someone who opts for foreign or independent flicks?
2 The Nevada Football Coaches Made Their Pick Based On His… Basketball Skills
When the football coaches at the University of Nevada were trying to decide who to select for their team, you’d think that they would want to watch the potential candidates in action on the football field, right? Well, not in Kaepernick’s case. The coaches at Nevada had already seen his throwing skills and seen some of his tapes, but they wanted just a little bit more assurance that the young kid was a solid pick. So, they went to see him at one of his basketball games. Kaepernick allegedly had a fever on the night that the coaches attended, but he managed to score over 20 points while showcasing his insane athletic ability. That was enough to convince the coaches – the lead recruiter at the time apparently saw Kaepernick’s skills on the court and said simply, “This is the guy.” Well, he turned out to be a pretty solid pick we’d have to say.
1 He Put His Tattoo Artist On The Map
When you’re a professional athlete, your body is essentially your canvas. Sure, it’s partially covered in a uniform the majority of the time, but you’re often showing off your physique in shirtless photo shoots and showing off every inch of bare skin not covered by the uniform in front of cameras broadcasting you to millions. So, when you’re looking at Colin Kaepernick, you’re usually also looking at his tattoos – and that’s good news for his tattoo artist. Kaepernick first met his tattoo artist, Nes Andrion, who is based in Reno, Nevada, when he was a young man with just one tat. Since then, Andrion has inked Kaepernick approximately 15 times, including some fairly large pieces. Considering the insane amounts that brands pay to have their products or services featured for even a few seconds during the Super Bowl, we don’t even want to calculate how much the publicity that Andrion received when Kaepernick was in the Super Bowl might have been worth.
Sources: Nickiswift.com, Celebritytoob.com, Bleacherreport.com
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