Free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick, about to enter a third consecutive autumn of NFL unemployment, revealed that a specific police shooting led to his activism.
In an interview with online magazine Paper, Kaepernick said his protests were a response to a deadly December 2015 confrontation between San Francisco police officers and Mario Woods, 26, in the city's Bayview neighborhood.
Woods, a suspect in a stabbing attack, died after being shot 20 times after he allegedly refused police orders to drop his knife. Woods' family sued the city in a lawsuit that was settled for $400,000.
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Kaepernick, who at the time played for the San Francisco 49ers, said that after the shooting he and his longtime girlfriend, Nessa Diab, devised a plan that included the launching of a Know Your Rights Camp for youth.
"The discussion happened shortly after the execution of Mario Woods," Kaepernick told Paper in a story posted Tuesday morning.
Kaepernick's kneeling during the national anthem at games during the 2016 season prompted some other NFL players to follow suit and set off a heated national debate over the appropriateness of such demonstrations during the anthem.
The quarterback has previously offered a more general explanation that his silent protests were against racism and police brutality.