Childhood & Early Life
Colin Kaepernick was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on November 3, 1987, to Heidi Russo, a 19-year-old white girl, and an unknown African-American man. Being single and impoverished, Russo had to place him for adoption. He was five weeks old when he was adopted by Rick and Teresa Kaepernick, a white couple. Through them, he has a brother, Kyle, and a sister, Devon.
He spent the early years of his childhood in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, before moving to Turlock, California with his family when he was four.
He was educated at John H. Pitman High School. Nominated for All-State selection in his senior year in all the three sports he played (football, basketball and baseball), Kaepernick was also a 4.0 GPA student. He graduated high school in 2006.
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Despite his stellar record on the field, Colin Kaepernick garnered little to no interest from Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs across the country. One of the reasons for this was his build in the senior year: he was 6' 5" tall but weighed a mere 170 pounds.
Even Nevada, the only university that offered him a football scholarship, was tentative, fearing he might one day leave the program for baseball. Eventually, Kaepernick accepted Nevada’s offer and signed in February 2006.
Major League Baseball’s website named him as one of the draftable prospects in the class of 2006. As a college junior, he was picked by the ‘Chicago Cubs in the 43rd round of the Major League Baseball Draft in 2009, but he chose to remain with Nevada and continued to play football.
He played 11 games in total as a freshman, scoring 19 passing touchdowns, three passing interceptions, and 2,175 passing yards with 150.8 passing efficiency rate.
In his sophomore season, he was the year’s only NCAA quarterback to pass for 2,500 or more yards. He played the ‘Humanitarian Bowl’ despite an ankle injury and created a record with 370 yards passing.
As a junior, he marshalled the ‘Wolf Pack’ to ‘2009 Hawaiian Bowl’, which they lost to ‘SMU Mustangs’ of ‘Conference USA’. He was the first player in NCAA history to register consecutive 2,000/1,000 yard seasons.
At the beginning of his senior year, he topped the list of active college football players in rushing touchdowns. In December 2010, he received his bachelor’s degree in business management.
’San Francisco 49ers’ selected him as their fourth pick in the second round of the ‘2011 NFL Draft’. He debuted with the team against ‘Philadelphia Eagles’ on October 2. In his first season as a backup to the team’s starting quarterback Alex Smith, he played three games.
He scored his first career touchdown in his second season with the 49ers against the New York Jets. On November 19, he took the field as starting quarterback for the first time against the ‘Chicago Bears’ and played a pivotal role in the team’s 32-7 victory. In his first NFL playoff appearance, Kaepernick rushed a record 181 yards in their win against the ‘Green Bay Packers’.
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In 2012, after Smith suffered a concussion and had to miss two games mid-season, Colin Kaepernick replaced him on the playing roster. Even after Smith fully recovered, the head coach Jim Harbaugh kept Kaepernick as the starter, who led the team to the ‘Super Bowl XLVII’, where they eventually lost to ‘Baltimore Ravens’.
He began the 2013 season as the starting quarterback and guided his team to their second consecutive NFL playoffs appearance.
He signed a $126 million contract with the 49ers, extending it for six more years on June 4, 2014. The team completed the season with eight wins and eight losses, failing to make it to the playoffs.
In 2015, he was sidelined in favour of backup Blaine Gabbert. Sometime in November, he suffered an injury to the left shoulder. He had to sit out the rest of season for his surgery and recuperation.
In the 2016 season, he took the field in 12 games, scoring 16 passing touchdowns and four interceptions.
Colin Kaepernick was photographed sitting during the US national anthem at the 49ers third preseason game on August 26, 2016. The quiet and subtle gesture gained national attention.
He was joined in the protest by several of his teammates, colleagues in NFL, and athletes from others sports as well. He has been vilified equally, being voted the ‘most disliked’ player in NFL in a 2016 fan poll. He also told reporters that he had received death threats.
He has been a free agent since opting out of his contract with the 49ers in early 2017.
Colin Kaepernick has been in a relationship with MTV host and ‘Hot 97’ DJ Nessa Diab since July 2015. Diab, who is of Egyptian descent, was photographed with Kaepernick at a fundraising event in February 2016. This was the couple’s first official public appearance together.
Kaepernick is deeply religious. A practising Lutheran, his faith is documented in the body art that he has collected all over his upper body, including the Bible verse Psalm 18:39, set on a scroll on his right shoulder.