Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is expanding his empire. The pro-football star-turned-activist announced a first-look deal with Walt Disney on Monday, to executive-produce content for the media giant. Under terms of the pact, Kaepernick’s production company Ra Vision Media will develop scripted and unscripted stories for Disney centered on race, social justice, and equality that also showcase directors and creatives of color. The deal extends across all of Disney’s properties, including ESPN, Hulu, Pixar, and The Undefeated, an ESPN vertical that focuses on sports and race.
Kaepernick’s personal saga will also be chronicled in a new documentary series by ESPN Films. The athlete tapped journalist Jemele Hill to produce the story of his journey from NFL quarterback to civil rights activist. The docu-series will feature never-before-seen archival material detailing the recent years of upheaval in Kaepernick’s life as well as new interviews illuminating the athlete’s significance in the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I am excited to announce this historic partnership with Disney across all of its platforms to elevate Black and Brown directors, creators, storytellers, and producers, and to inspire the youth with compelling and authentic perspectives,” Kaepernick said in a statement released Monday. “I look forward to sharing the docuseries on my life story, in addition to many other culturally impactful projects we are developing.”
While Kaepernick has yet to be re-hired by the NFL, he’s got plenty of other business interests. The athlete collaborated on shoes with Nike and was recently named to Medium’s board of directors, in a position involved with content creation. Netflix is producing its own Kaepernick docu-series, Colin in Black & White, directed by Ava DuVernay. Meanwhile, conservatives seem to finally be changing their tune on the controversial quarterback, calling for him to be signed.
Kaepernick’s phoenix-like rise is something worth celebrating, and his leadership and bravery way back in 2016 is something we all ought to thank him for. The president of ESPN, Jimmy Piatro, put it pretty eloquently while announcing the Disney deal: “Colin has had a singular path as both an athlete and an activist, and, as the nation continues to confront racism and social injustice, it feels particularly relevant to hear Colin’s voice.”