Outspoken former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick took to social media Tuesday to discuss July 4th and show glimpses of a recent trip to Africa.
“How can we truly celebrate independence on a day that intentionally robbed our ancestors of theirs? To find my independence I went home,” he tweeted.
He included a one-minute video package of a pilgrimage to Ghana, where he is shown visiting former slave dungeons, a hospital with children, and an African village among other places.
Kaepernick also took to his Instagram page with a longer explanation of his trip. He started off with a quote from Frederick Douglass: “What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence?”
He then delved into his experience.
“In a quest to find my personal independence, I had to find out where my ancestors came from,” he said. “I set out tracing my African ancestral roots, and it lead me to Ghana. Upon finding out this information, I wanted to visit the sites responsible for myself (and many other Black folks in the African Diaspora) for being forced into the hells of the middle passage. I wanted to see a fraction of what they saw before reaching the point of no return.
“I spent time with the/my Ghanaian people, from visiting the local hospital in Keta and the village of Atito, to eating banku in the homes of local friends, and paying my respects to Kwame Nkrumah’s Memorial Park. I felt their love, and truly I hope that they felt mine in return.”
Meanwhile, Kaepernick – who became a polarizing figure from protesting the national anthem before games in the 2016-2017 NFL season and preseason – remains a free agent. As many arguably less talented quarterbacks have continued to get signed by teams, many fans and pundits believe that Kaep has been blackballed by the NFL.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said in a post-game interview.
“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way,” he said last summer about his protest. He was fed up as police were killing innocent black people and not going to jail for their actions. “There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
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