#ImWithKap: Celebrities Lead Super Bowl Boycott in Support of Colin Kaepernick

Activists rally in support of NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick outside the offices of the National Football League on Park Avenue, August 23, 2017 in New York City.  (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Super Bowl LIII features two former Northern California quarterbacks in Jared Goff and Tom Brady, but it's another former Bay Area signal caller who has inspired some to boycott the NFL championship: Colin Kaepernick.

"I will not be a spectator, viewer or supporter of the #SuperBowl today in protest of the @NFL’s racist treatment of @Kaepernick7 and its ongoing disregard for the health + well-being of all its players," tweeted filmmaker Ava DuVernay on Sunday morning. "To watch the game is to compromise my beliefs. It’s not worth it. #ImWithKap."

Kaepernick was with the 49ers in 2016 when he initially sat during the national anthem during preseason games, before switching to taking a knee, which he continued to do throughout the season.

His protest inspired others across the NFL and other U.S. professional sports to also protest during the national anthem, and it drew both support and ire from fans and commentators. One of the biggest critics of the protests has been President Trump, who said in August 2017 that the NFL should fire players who didn't stand for the anthem.

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Other celebrities on Twitter followed DuVernay's lead and began posting using the hashtag #ImWithKap, including the musician Common, who tweeted a picture of activist Angela Davis wearing a jersey with Kaepernick's number seven and #ImWithKap.

Actor Nick Cannon used the hashtag and encouraged his followers to donate to Kaepernick's Know Your Rights Camp for youth.

The hashtag quickly spread across Twitter as users shared their intentions to not watch the Super Bowl.

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," explained Kaepernick in August 2016. "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."

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Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since he became a free agent following 2016, leading some to argue that NFL teams are intentionally not signing him as retaliation for his protest. In 2017, Kapernick filed an official grievance, accusing the NFL of collusion.

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