Colin Kaepernick’s political activism continues to generate momentum and controversy.
This January, Steph Curry teamed up with the embattled NFL star to help complete his year-long pledge to contribute $1 million to various charities, including violence prevention organization United Playaz, reported KTVU news.
Kaepernick faced fierce criticism in December for visiting prisoners at New York’s Rikers Island facility, according to articles in The Washington Times and New York Daily News.
“At a time when jail violence is soaring and assaults on corrections officers are rising, Commissioner (Cynthia) Brann invites Colin Kaepernick, (whose) anti-law enforcement sentiment is on full display with the message ‘Pigs’ written on his socks, to speak to a group of inmates who are provided suits and ties to listen to him,” said Elias Husamudeen, president of the Corrections Officers’ Benevolent Association.
“if y’all think I did it…just give me a lawyer, dawg, ‘cause this is not what’s up.” Warren Demesme said during police questioning. The Louisiana Supreme Court held that this reference was too ambiguous to count as a request for counsel. REASON Magazine, January 2018
At the 49ers’ training camp last year, Kaepernick drew attention for wearing socks decorated with pigs in police hats.
During his December visit at Rikers, Kaepernick spoke with inmates and staff in conjunction with the reformative justice group 100 Suits for 100 Men.
“Colin Kaepernick visited Rikers today to share a message of hope and inspiration,” said Peter Thorne, Department of Correction spokesperson.
Kaepernick and Curry later joined forces to give $10,000 each to United Playaz, a San Francisco-based organization focused on youth development and violence prevention.
“I think it’s amazingly important and powerful what Colin is doing—putting his money where his mouth is and actually reaching out to the community with the resources he has,” Curry said on Twitter, reported the KTVU news article.
“At first I didn’t believe it,” said Rudy Corpuz Jr., United Playaz founder and a former convicted felon who helps parolees find housing and jobs. Corpuz intends to use the athletes’ money to “help out brothers who [are] coming home from prison – their re-entry” and to “give them the opportunity to navigate and get involved more with society.”
After being released from San Quentin in 2016, David Monroe went to work for United Playaz, mentoring youths. He cautions students about his own path into gang activity and prison life.
“In 1997 I was incarcerated for second-degree murder,” Monroe said. “I was 15 years old at the time, and they tried me as an adult.
“When we’re here with these kids now and share our stories, then the ‘why’ comes out…it was meant for somebody to experience that so that they don’t have to, you know?
“Kids are like magic—they’re healing the hearts of these gentlemen who are coming home,” added Corpuz. “It makes it 100 times more worth it to stay out.”
Kevin Durant also pitched in with Kaepernick in January to donate to Silicon Valley De-Bug, a San Jose organization dedicated to community-based social justice work.