ESPN Films announced this week that its forthcoming multi-part documentary about former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick will be directed by well known American filmmaker Spike Lee.
In a press release issued Wednesday, the Disney-owned sports media company announced that production has started on the project, which was announced in 2020 resulting from a first-look deal between Disney and Kaepernick's production arm, Ra Vision Media.
ESPN previewed the scope of the docuseries and Lee's involvement, saying, "Kaepernick, who has never given a full, first-person account of his journey, is collaborating closely with Lee who plans to use extensive new interviews and a vast never-before-seen archive to help Kaepernick tell his story from his perspective."
It was previously reported that the docuseries would cover Kaepernick's final season with the San Francisco 49ers and his transition into a social justice activist.
"Colin has had a singular path as both an athlete and an activist, and, as the nation continues to confront racism and social injustice, it feels particularly relevant to hear Colin's voice on his evolution and motivations," ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said at the time, according to Variety.
Kaepernick, known mostly for his kneeling national anthem protests, hasn't played in the NFL since 2016. After being released by the 49ers, the former quarterback has tried multiple times, without success, to make the roster on other teams.
Kaepernick and his supporters have claimed that racism and negativity surrounding his anthem antics are the sole reason for his failure to reenter the league. But critics have pointed out that his on-field play was never especially good, and that his attempts to make rosters were nothing more than publicity stunts.
In addition to Lee, who was seen Wednesday sitting courtside at a New York Knicks game with Kaepernick, controversial former ESPN personality Jemele Hill is also slated to be part of the project as a producer.
Kaepernick, a largely controversial figure, was reportedly heckled on his way out of Madison Square Garden Wednesday when a protester yelled, "You're a bum," adding, "You could never throw a football."
Despite his short and not particularly impressive career thus far, with the project, Kaepernick will join an elite list of athletes who have received the documentary treatment in recent years.
In 2020, ESPN Films produced "The Last Dance," a critically-acclaimed look at NBA legend Michael Jordan's career through the lens of his final season with the Chicago Bulls. Then, last year, ESPN released a docuseries about NFL legend Tom Brady titled "Man in the Arena." Now, Apple TV+ is planning an in-depth look at NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson's career.
ESPN Films is set to executive produce the as yet untitled series about Kaepernick with the help of Lee's production company, 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks. A release date for the docuseries has yet to be announced.