Colin Kaepernick’s message, which became a hashtag and later slogans on T-shirts, hats and protest signs, could become a brand available in a store near you very soon. That’s because the quarterback has reportedly filed an application to trademark his signature “I’m With Kap” slogan for a clothing line, TMZ is reporting.
Kaepernick began using the message from the offset of his clash with the NFL, and the viral hashtag has seen been worn by celebrities like G-Eazy, Kenny Stills, and Harry Belafonte.
As per the TMZ report, the free agent football player has recently filed paperwork in California, which would make him the owner of the rights to the slogan for use on T-shirts, hoodies, caps and other apparel. The publication also contends that big-name brands, including Adidas and Puma, could end up signing him in the future, a deal likely to be very lucrative for him.
The firestorm the then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback ignited on Aug. 14, 2016, when he first refused to stand for the United States national anthem before the start of NFL games, continues to have repercussions. Since then, members of various NFL and other sports teams have engaged in similar silent protests, most commonly kneeling during the anthem to protest racism and injustice in the nation’s criminal system.
The players’ protests have prompted public figures all the way to the White House, including President Donald Trump himself who went as far as to call the protesting players an explicit term, to engage in the highly politicized debate. Most recently, Rep. Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic candidate challenging Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, was seen in a viral video defending NFL players who kneel during the national anthem before games.
“Non-violently, peacefully, while the eyes of this country are watching these games, they take a knee to bring our attention and our focus to this problem to ensure that we fix it,” he said, as reported by CBS News.
As a consequence of the protest, Kaepernick lost his contract and has remained unsigned ever since. In November 2017, Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL and its owners, accusing them of colluding to not hire him. And the widespread assumption is that he will not find work in the NFL moving forward.
This could be the reason the 30-year-old athlete is considering other options, including trademarking his message. Though the player made more than $40 million in contract money during his NFL career, according to TMZ, he has also donated up to $1 million to charity, including his “Know Your Rights” campaign.