The times have changed and continue to change. It took Colin Kaepernick several years to win, but he did in the end. For all his missteps and prolonged silence, he started a movement that opened the door to real change -- and not just in the corners one would suspect. His story has evolved, and those who vilified him are finding him vindicated. As such, his corporate capital has more value.
This is America after all, where the true measure of a man is often reflected in dollars, cents, and handshake deals. Of course, it's not all bad because to realize Kaepernick is now a net-positive for a brand and palpable to a widespread audience is to realize just how far public sentiment has shifted.
This morning, the unemployed quarterback and Disney announced a content partnership deal. The first production will be a look at Kaepernick's last five years, produced by ESPN Films. Jemele Hill, who was ahead of the curve and punished for it, is involved. Those two have a lot in common, including speaking some plain truths that enormous, inflexible corporations didn't have the backbone to shoulder.
Poetic justice or otherwise, the announcement reflects a growing demand for Kaepernick, who can help make money more than he can help lose it. He recently joined the board of directors at Medium and is spearheading amplification of minority-driven storytelling.
In fact, it appears the NFL is one of the few entities not beating down the door to work with a former employee. Included in the write-up of today's news is an assertion Kaepernick still wants to play football but has fielded a grand total of zero offers to do so. Will that change?
Set aside whether it should or shouldn't change. It's been a long time since he played competitive football. But is it possible we're at a point where it'd be a better move for a team to bring him in even if he can't contribute? And if so, what a remarkable transformation to this point.
The Kaepernick business is booming right now. Is the NFL really going to sit on the sideline and watch it happen? Is the league really willing to miss out on the action and the opportunity to fill its pockets? That would go against a long-established ethos.