Nike plans to release a Colin Kaepernick-themed shoe next week that will pay homage to the date the former NFL quarterback first protested police brutality by refusing to stand during the national anthem, according to Sneaker News.
Kaepernick wore the shoes, which are Air Force 1's, during his recent workout for NFL teams. That workout was mired in controversy when Kaepernick rejected the workout location and media access terms set by the NFL and moved the workout to a high school an hour away at the last minute.
The shoes are black-and-white low tops with a translucent blue outsole. On the back of the shoe is a portrait drawing of Kaepernick, and the bottom of the shoe features the numbers 081416, representing Aug. 14, 2016.
On that date, Kaepernick first refused to stand for the national anthem, although it took a few weeks before the media took notice of the protests.
"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 at the time, according to NFL.com. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
For the first few weeks of the protest, Kaepernick sat on the bench while the anthem played. After a conversation with former NFL player and Green Beret Nate Boyer, the protest then turned into kneeling alongside teammates.
"We sorta came to a middle ground where he would take a knee alongside his teammates," Boyer said on "Real Sports" on HBO. "Soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother's grave, you know, to show respect. When we're on a patrol, you know, and we go into a security halt, we take a knee, and we pull security."
After the 2016-17 season, Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers, but no team chose to sign him and he hasn't played professional football since then. Kaepernick believes the NFL and team owners colluded to blackball him due to his controversial protests. Numerous other players who have and continue to kneel during the anthem have been signed since then, however.
(H/T: The Daily Wire)