Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who in more recent years has been known for social activism and his stance on racial injustice, will be back on the football field this weekend.
The former NFL quarterback has been named the honorary captain for the University of Michigan’s Maize and Blue spring game, Saturday, the school announced. The scrimmage game, which is free for fans to attend, will be held at Michigan Stadium at noon.
While Kaepernick, 34, isn’t a Michigan alum, he does have a relationship with the Wolverines head coach, Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh was coach of the San Francisco 49ers from 2011 to 2014, during which Kaepernick was a member of the NFL team.
Kaepernick famously hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2017 after he began kneeling while the national anthem played at the beginning of each game to protest racial injustice, police brutality and systemic oppression during the 2016 season.
Following his protests, Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers. Since then, he has been unable to sign with any NFL team.
Kaepernick and fellow athlete and protester Eric Reid filed grievances with the league in October 2017, accusing owners of colluding to prevent him from signing with a team. The pair settled with the league in Feb. 2019.
Since then, Kaepernick has kept up with his training, repeatedly noting on social media that he wants to and is ready to play should he be recruited by an NFL team.
Earlier this month, Kaepernick tweeted that he was seeking receivers to practice with to stay in top shape. “For The past 5 years I’ve been working out and staying ready in case an opportunity to play presented itself. I’m really grateful to my trainer, who I’ve been throwing to all this time. But man, do I miss throwing to professional route runners,” he wrote at the time. “Who’s working?? I will pull up.”
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett was one of the players that responded, training with Kaepernick.
Later, a trainer that worked with Kaepernick —David Robinson — told TMZ that “at least” five NFL teams reached out in the wake of a session he held with the athlete in March.
“A few teams have … asked how his arm looked,” Robinson claimed. “They have reached out and asked about him.”
— Michigan Football (@UMichFootball) March 30, 2022