Looks like somebody appreciates Colin Kaepernick. Eminent sociologist, author and activist Harry Edwards, who helped to curate the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s most recent sports exhibit, “Game Changers,” feels that Kaepernick, too, needs pride of place at the Smithsonian.
Edwards reportedly donated a collection of items relating to the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback to the museum late last year.
According to USA Today, Edwards still “drips with passion as he reflects on the role and platform of sports as a conduit for social change.” His seminal work, The Revolt of the Black Athlete, first published in 1969, will be rereleased next week.
Kaepernick has withstood intense criticism and basked in deserved praise for kneeling during the national anthem last season to protest the seemingly never-ending tide of death by police in the African-American community. He has not been signed by an NFL team as of today, many say because of his political stand.
But Edwards, now 73, thinks that Kaepernick is the bee’s knees, comparing him to another African-American sports great.
“I said, ‘Don’t wait 50 years to try to get some memorabilia and so forth on Kaepernick,’” Edwards said, recounting what he said when he donated the items. “‘Let me give you a game jersey, some shoes, a picture … and it should be put right there alongside Muhammad Ali. He’s this generation’s Ali.’”
Though some may think that’s a bit of stretch, Edwards makes a direct comparison. “Ali created a conversation,” Edwards said. “The conversation was going on at lower frequencies, but when the world champion steps forward and says, ‘No Viet Cong ever called me a nigger,’ it moved the discussion to another level.
“The same thing with Kaepernick. He sparked a national conversation about race,” he added.
The Kaepernick items are not currently on display, but the museum’s curator of sports said that he expects that new material in the collection will be rotated into exhibits in one to two years.
Read more at USA Today.