September 4 2016
His jerseys’ sales have skyrocketed past that of football legends Jerry Rice and Joe Montana.
Kaepernick during a game. | Photo: Flickr / Adam Fagen
As San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick deepens his resolve and continues to protest police brutality and institutionalized racism, his jersey’s sales have soared to become the team’s top-seller, eclipsing sales of such 49ers legends as Jerry Rice, Joe Montana and Steve Young.
On social media, sports broadcasts, and public demonstrations, the U.S. has exploded in contentious debate following Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the country’s pre-game national anthem, with whites, predictably excoriating the San Francisco quarterback’s protest against a spate of widely-publicized police killings of Blacks and Latinos, while people of color – perhaps just as predictably – applauded the gesture.
There is no data to indicate exactly what demographic group is buying the embattled athlete’s jersey but if the experience of Michael Vick is any indication, it is almost entirely Blacks and other people of color.
Vick was the starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons when he was charged, convicted and sentenced to two years in prison in 2007 for running an illegal dogfighting operation in which the animals were treated inhumanely and killed. When Vick was released, he resumed his playing career with the Philadelphia Eagles and on talk-radio and social media, he was clearly annointed African-Americans favorite NFL player. Like Kaepernick, sales of his jersey skyrocketed as well.
And while there has been considerable concern that Kaepernick may have jeopardized his career with his bold stance, he seems to have at least cleared the first hurdle; the 49ers made their final cuts and Kaepernick was not among them, although head coach Chip Kelly announced that Blaine Gabbert will be the starting quarterback.
The question, however, is how much playing time — if any — Kaepernick is to get in 2016. As reported by NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo, the quarterback’s lucrative contract is a potential issue for the club, meaning that cutting him would open up cap space to sign other players.