Coliln Kaepernick Enters the Smithsonian Museum

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) and San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold (58) kneel during the playing of the National anthem before the first half of an NFL football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

The way it’s looking, there is a possibility that fans will never see a Colin Kaepernick jersey on an NFL football field again. But they will get to see it hanging up in the Smithsonian Museum before long, it has been confirmed.

On Wednesday, May 17, one of the iconic museum’s curators Damion Thomas told USA Today that he expects an exhibit featuring Kaepernick’s jersey and other game-worn items and memorabilia, to be erected within the next year or so. The Smithsonian is already in possession of a collection of items, as they were donated to the institution by prominent University of California, Berkeley, professor of sociology Harry Edwards, in late 2016.

“Don’t wait 50 years to try to get some memorabilia and so forth on Kaepernick,” Edwards recalls telling administrators at the museum. “Ali created a conversation. The conversation was going on at lower frequencies, but when the world champion steps forward and says, ‘No Viet Cong ever called me a n****r, and we have some issue we need to deal with here, not over there in a war that makes no sense,’ it moved the discussion to another level,” Edwards says, evoking Muhammad Ali’s historic refusal to be drafted into the U.S. military during the Vietnam War, in order to articulate the significance of Kaepernick’s protest, in the same light. “The same thing with Kaepernick. He sparked a national conversation about race.”

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