As Colin Kaepernick approached the end of high school, he had a decision to make: he could pursue baseball, which he was already scouted for, or he could try playing soccer, a sport he felt he could embrace. its community and its identity.
Kaepernick chose soccer and became widely known for kneeling during the national anthem at professional soccer games to protest police brutality and racial injustice.
On Wednesday, Kaepernick and Scholastic announced they would release a book about the time he had to make that choice — a young adult graphic novel titled “Colin Kaepernick: Change the Game,” slated for release next spring.
“Many of my high school experiences helped ground my understanding of blackness, my community, and my sense of worth,” he said in an email. “High school affirmed for me that sometimes it’s only by transgressing social expectations that we are able to transform into ourselves.”
Illustrated by Orlando Caicedo, “Change the Game” was written by Kaepernick and Eve L. Ewing, whose work includes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and the “Ironheart” series for Marvel Comics. The book is aimed at both teens and adults and will be co-published by Scholastic and Kaepernick Publishing — the partnership that produced Kaepernick’s children’s book, “I Color Myself Different,” this spring.
“We are thrilled to be working with Colin again on the publication of this second book based on his life experience,” said Debra Dorfman, Scholastic’s Global Licensing, Trademark and Media Editor. “Everyone faces a crossroads in their life – Colin’s teenage years were defining and his inspiring story reminds readers of all ages not to conform to the expectations of others.”
Kaepernick was a talented pitcher in high school, when he was scouted by college and major league baseball. His parents, teachers and coaches all thought it was his way to go, but Kaepernick was not at all interested in the sport. The description of Kaepernick’s new book quotes five-time MLB All-Star Adam Jones as saying that “baseball is a white man’s game.”
Baseball, Kaepernick explained, “would force me into spaces where I would face overt racism and have fewer resources of cultural support.” Football, on the other hand, he said, “would provide me with real opportunities to fully embrace my culture, my identity and my community”.
He then played college football for the University of Nevada and became a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.
“‘Changing the Game’ is about how power and resistance work in the real world and how young people can embrace their autonomy and live their lives in conditions that uplift them,” Kaepernick said. “I want young people to have courage, confidence and belief in who they are and what they are capable of, no matter what obstacles they may face.”