Kunta Kinte is the protagonist of "Roots: The Saga of an American Family", Alex Haley's 1976 novel. The novel was the basis of the epic ABC 1977 1977 series "Roots" which attracted an astonishing audience of more than 100 million viewers . Almost more than half of all American households with a TV watched the finale in the eight-part series.
Pictured by LeVar Burton, Kunta Kinte was kidnapped from Africa, transported across the Atlantic and forced into slavery in the American South. His owner renamed him "Toby." But he refused to accept the name that was given to him and, in a memorable scene, was repeatedly whipped for this disobedience.
He tries to escape four times but is caught every time. After the last attempt, the owners cut half of the foot to prevent further escape.
Although "Roots" is more than 40 years old, the character of Kunta Kinte remains a strong force in pop culture quoted in songs by Missy Elliott and Kendrick Lamar, including in his song "King Kunta". "
On Saturday, Kaepernick appeared to use the reference to make a statement: He will not change who he is to appease the powers that be.
The training came after the NFL announced at short notice that Kaepernick would participate in a throwing session in front of scouts and coaches, but disagreements about its timing, whether it was public and other issues led to Kaepernick canceling that event and holding a public training session at another training field in Atlanta, Georgia.
Once a star with The San Francisco 49ers have had Kaepernick out of the NFL since 2016, the same season when he first sat during the national anthem before the game as a protest against police brutality and racism, the protest developed to kneel after the Seattle Seahawk once and Green Beret Nate Boyer convinced Kaepernick to his knees would be more respectful to the nation's military, the quarterback has said.
His protests sparked a relapse, including criticism from President Trump. Since then, no team has offered to sign him for a new deal. He filed a complaint against the NFL in 2017, claiming that the owners worked together to keep him out. The case was settled for an indefinite sum last year.
Clothing as a message
For Kaepernick, clothing with a political message is nothing new.
He previously wore the Kunta Kinte jersey 2018 on his way to a deposition in his case against the NFL, according to a photo from TMZ Sports.
While still with the San Francisco 49ers in August 2016, he wore socks that depicted pigs in police hats to protest police brutality and racism. The suit drew angry criticism from the head of a national police organization.
"We have police officers who murder people. We have SFPD police officers who are obviously racist. These issues need to be addressed, "Kaepernick said afterwards.
"I have uncles, I have friends who are police officers. I have great respect for them because they do it for the right reason and they really want to protect and help people," he said. And the cops who murder people and are racist put other cops in jeopardy – like my family, like my friends. "
Later that month, Kaepernick wore a t-shirt with photos of a meeting between Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and Malcolm X,
He defended the shirt and praised Castro for investing in Cuba's education system as opposed to the US investment in the prison system, according to a Miami Herald columnist.
On his training Saturday, Kaepernick eventually laid out Kunta Kinte The shirt for an outfit that fits the occasion, but even had its own deeper meaning, he threw a passport with a sleeveless athlete shirt from Nike, which last year made Kaepernick their face.
Nike's ad campaign with Kaepernick included tagline, "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything. "