It’s well-known that Colin Kaepernick started his protest on the gridiron to bring attention to the police brutality and racial injustice plaguing this nation, but in a recent interview, the former quarterback reveals what specifically inspired his activism.
In an interview with Paper magazine, Kaepernick says the fatal police shooting of 26-year-old Mario Woods of San Francisco left him “with feelings of loss, pain, and anger.”
Ten months after the December 2015 death of Woods at the hands of San Francisco police, Kaepernick, then a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, took a knee during the playing of the national anthem before a game.
And a new arm of “the movement” was born.
Earlier this year, the San Francisco Police Department basically exonerated the five officers involved in Woods’ death, finding that the officers acted within department guidelines, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Woods was a suspect in a stabbing Dec. 2, 2015, when police saw him standing by a bus stop holding a knife. Police fatally fired on Woods after they said he refused their commands to drop the knife and seemed to be moving toward one of the officers.
Last year, the officers were let off the hook criminally when the San Francisco district attorney, George Gascón, decided not to press charges against them. However, the Chronicle notes, Gascón stated that Woods’ death shouldn’t have happened.
Woods’ mother, Gwen, who received a settlement of $400,000 from San Francisco earlier this year, expressed surprise and gratitude that Kaepernick had been impacted by her son’s death.
“It’s seeing a man put his money where his mouth was even though it wasn’t popular and it wasn’t comfortable and he took a lot of scrutiny, a lot of scrutiny,” she told KRON4.
“Someone cared enough to mention you, Mario, and it was Colin Kaepernick, she continued. “Someone cared enough to fight and lose money and endorsements. You were worth that, kid. You were worth that.”