By Nick Romano
February 13, 2020 at 08:36 AM EST

Colin Kaepernick isn’t waiting anymore for anyone to tell his story. He’s doing it himself, through his own publishing label.

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, who’s still shunned by the National Football League after his silent protest in 2016, announced plans to release his memoir later this year through the newly launched Kaepernick Publishing.

“My protest was the culmination of years of thought and experiences, of learning and unlearning,” he said in a statement. “I want to tell the story of my evolution, and the events that led me to protest systemic oppression, in hopes that it will inspire others to rise in action. I am excited that through this groundbreaking partnership between Kaepernick Publishing and Audible, we can elevate Black and Brown voices who can empower future generations.”

In 2016, Kaepernick ignited a political firestorm in America, fueled by President Donald Trump, when he was observed sitting during the National Anthem at an NFL game. Many wrongly called it a National Anthem protest or a protest of the American flag, which were not the case. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an interview that August. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” This act came after a series of unarmed black men and women killed by police officers.

Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

To this day, Kaepernick remains a free agent but has yet to secure another position on a NFL team, despite holding his own workout session to display his skills in Atlanta last November. “My desire to play football is still there,” the athlete told USA Today in an interview to promote his memoir. “I still train five days a week. I’m ready to go, I’m ready for a phone call, tryout, workout at any point in time. I’m still waiting on the owners and their partners to stop running from this situation. So I hope I get a call this offseason. I’ll be looking forward to it.”

Audible will release the audio book version of Kaepernick’s memoir, which doesn’t have a known title but is described as “part political awakening and part memoir.”

“I’ve had a lot of questions surrounding what got me to the point of protesting,” he said. “Why did I do it? Why did I do it at that moment? Why wasn’t it earlier in my career? A lot of questions surrounding what led me to that point. Which led me to wanting to share that story and give insight. So I think there’s a lot of interest around it, but time will tell when the book comes out.”

Through Kaepernick Publishing, Kaepernick also hopes to elevate ownership options for writers of color who work with the label and bring more diverse voices to literature. A new multi-project deal between Kaepernick and Audible to develop original audio pieces will also help amplify the voices of authors, creators, and influential figures.

“It’s not just my control over stories. We wanted to be able to put the power back into the hands of the people that are telling the stories and the people that are writing the stories and creating them,” he explained. “We didn’t want to monopolize that and hold that to ourselves. It’s something that should be distributed to the people who are putting in the work to be able to tell their stories and tell them in a genuine and authentic way.”

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