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Spike Lee Sets Multi-Part Colin Kaepernick Doc for ESPN Films

The multi-part Spike Lee-directed Colin Kaepernick documentary series, based on the former NFL QB's Disney deal, has started production.

FILE - In this Nov. 16, 2019, file photo, free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick arrives for a workout for NFL football scouts and media in Riverdale, Ga. While sports have always been indivisible from politics and public conflicts, there has been a major ground shift in the years since Michael Jordan made public neutrality on all non-sports issues an essential part of his brand. Now, there is almost an expectation of advocacy, especially with the precedent set by Colin Kaepernick's protests and the embrace by many of the Black Lives Matter cause. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland, File)

Colin Kaepernick

AP

Spike attended a New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden with Colin Kaepernick Wednesday night to toast the start of their new project: a multi-part docuseries for ESPN Films, in which the former 49ers quarterback tells his life story. Production on the series has already begun.

Kaepernick had previously collaborated with Ava DuVernay on a six-part Netflix series about his teenage years called “Colin in Black and White.” This series for ESPN Films will tell a complete biographical story, from his childhood in central California to his record-setting college career for Nevada to his selection by the 49ers in the 2011 draft and subsequent tenure in the NFL.

Kaepernick helped start a movement with his decision to kneel during the national anthem before games to protest endemic nationwide violence against African Americans by police. Not only was he cut by the 49ers, Kaepernick was arguably blackballed by the rest of the NFL’s teams and he hasn’t been allowed to play since. The politicization of his protest by former U.S. President Donald Trump turned Kaepernick’s actions into a flashpoint in America’s cultural divide. But by 2020, even NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he’d wished the NFL had listened to the underlying reasons for his protest sooner.

ESPN Films has recently had massive success for its ESPN+ streaming service with “Tom Brady: Man in the Arena,” a multi-part docuseries about the now-retired quarterback’s legendary career. Lee’s Kaepernick series seems teed up to fill a similar niche. Former ESPN broadcaster Jemele Hill is a producer on the project.

This series is the result of a first-look production deal Kaepernick’s Ra Vision Media signed with The Walt Disney Company (which own ESPN) in 2020. At the time, Disney touted the partnership as focusing “on telling scripted and unscripted stories that explore race, social injustice and the quest for equity, and will provide a new platform to showcase the work of Black and Brown directors and producers.”

Kaepernick said at the time, “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. I look forward to sharing the docuseries on my life story, in addition to many other culturally impactful projects we are developing.”

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