NFL star turned civil rights activist Colin Kaepernick is facing backlash after comparing the football league’s training camps to slavery in new Netflix series Colin in Black and White.
Throughout the biographical series, Kaepernick takes viewers on a retrospective journey through his formative years as a teenager with big dreams in a prejudicial community.
In the first episode, which is titled Cornrows, he narrates the first scene, which shows players getting assessed for try-outs.
‘Before they put you on the field, teams poke, prod and examine you, searching for any defect that might affect your performance. No boundary respected. No dignity left intact,’ Kaepernick says in his opening monologue.
The scene immediately switches to several black men in shackles being auctioned off to a group of white men.
While the former football player has been praised for his raw honesty, some fans weren’t too happy about the particular analogy, considering NFL players get paid roughly $860,000 (£629,000) annually.
One Twitter user said: ‘If Kaepernick truly believes this drivel, why has he fought so hard to play in the NFL.’
Another user in agreement said: ‘I didn’t know pro athletes WHO CHOOSE to play football and get millions of dollars and fame is the same as slavery!’
Kaepernick rose to prominence during 2016 when he was a player for the San Francisco 49ers American Football team. During the national anthem, the 32-year-old took the knee during the US anthem being played at the start of the game.
President Donald Trump slammed Kapernick’s protest on the field and described it as a ‘terrible thing’.
The backlash resulted in the star leaving his club as a free agent and moving primarily into activism work.
The coming-of-age docudrama, directed by Ava DuVernay and Michael Starrbury, consists of Kaepernick narration in addition to his witty voiceover to scenes as they unfold, through Jaden Michael’s performance as young Colin.
The football star announced in June 2020, that he will be releasing a limited series on Netflix, with filmmaker Ava’s assistance, which will highlight themes such as social injustice and police brutality.
The streaming service says it will provide an introspective look at Kaepernick’s early life as a Black child growing up with a white adopted family and his journey to becoming a great quarterback while defining his identity.
Colin in Black and White is available to stream on Netflix.