Colin Kaepernick’s journey has been an interesting one where the highs and lows of professional athleticism have intertwined with activism. However, Kaep’s silent protest against police brutality against marginalized communities has yielded many accolades.
Recently, Morgan State University added one to the list, giving the former NFL quarterback an honorary degree.
Kaepernick and two other honorees were recognized for being “exemplary vanguards of social justice and the African-American experience.” Last Saturday, he received recognition during the spring commencement ceremony at Hughes Memorial Stadium.
“Bravely Stood And Kneeled”
Filmmaker David E. Talbert and David Burton, founder and CEO of the Diverse Manufacturing Supply Chain Alliance, also received honorary degrees.
“Leadership, Integrity, Innovation, Diversity, Excellence and Respect are more than just words that appear on the flags that adorn our campus, or words that we utter casually when reciting our core values, they represent the embodiment of who we are and what a Morgan graduate stands for,” said Morgan State University President David K. Wilson.
“With this notion in mind, we intentionally sought a collection of individuals who truly embody these principles, and thankfully we have assembled a trio of diverse voices who have bravely stood—and kneeled—for the betterment and advancement of the voiceless, the marginalized and the disenfranchised.”
Kaepernick received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the university.
Since his polarizing kneeling stance during pregame performances off the national anthem in 2016, Kaepernick has founded and helped to fund three organizations to help Black and Brown people: Know Your Rights Camp, Ra Vision Media, and Kaepernick Publishing.
The 34-year-old played six seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and holds the NFL record for most rushing yards in a playoff game by a quarterback (181). He played in one Super Bowl, where he lost to the Baltimore Ravens at Super Bowl XLVII.
The Passion For More
Recently, Kaepernick, who has been relatively quiet, spoke to the “I AM ATHLETE” podcast expressing his desire to play in the NFL.
“I think more than anything, it’s a passion,” Kaepernick said to co-host Adam “Pacman” Jones. “You have those dreams from when you were a kid. I’m going to be an NFL player, and I’m going to win a Super Bowl, and for me, I have unfinished business on that front.
“I’ve been to the Super Bowl. We were one play away. It’s like, well, I need to finish that. My mentality isn’t that I just to be like, ‘oh, I want to compete.’ No, I want to win a championship.
Former NFL great Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson sang Kaepernick’s praises, saying, “one of the things I always admired about you was your passion not to give up for what you want to do, and what surprised me was how great a ball you throw.”
Congrats to our co-founder @Kaepernick7 who will receive an honorary doctorate degree at Morgan State University. This year's honorands are being recognized as vanguards of social justice and the African-American experience during the 2022 commencement exercises. pic.twitter.com/xvtxRcOSnT
— Know Your Rights Camp (@yourrightscamp) May 17, 2022
Former NFL Player Shade
Ironically, podcast co-host Adam “Pacman” Jones later expressed doubt over Kaepernick’s charitable contributions. The criticism came after Antonio Brown began floating doubt about the authenticity of Kaepernick’s social activism since he reached a settlement with the NFL in his collusion case and also received a substantial deal with Nike.
“As far as the community part, I think AB is right,” Jones said to TMZ. “We haven’t heard anything that Kaep did for the community or given back to the community after the settlement.”
Although Kaepernick’s social activism makes him a lightning rod for opinions, HBCU Morgan State University adds to the accolade side of Kaepernick’s journey.