Posts tagged with "football"

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Football Is Back And So Is Branding

With major league sports back in action –  along with college football –  sports fans have found themselves with a welcome commodity – choice. Social media is tracking what are proving to be the most effective and strategic ways to compete.

According to international social media analytics firm Talkwalker, Anheuser Busch (AB InBev) has made the most noise with sports partnerships this summer, as their beverage brands are trying to make the sports comeback resonate with fans stuck at home through experiential marketing. 

#ultracourtside

AB InBev tested virtual experiences with Michelob Ultra’s partnership with the NBA – the beer brand sponsored a digital experience that live streamed fans onto screens at the game so that they could “attend” while watching the action at home. The ad experience, and with it the announcement that Michelob Ultra is the new official beer of the NBA, garnered the brand 24,300 mentions in July with campaign hashtag #ultracourtside, generating 70,000 mentions since the season kicked off, Talkwalker reported.

$18 Nachos….and a brand boost of 550%

Another brand, Babe Wine, is producing football-themed candle scents so that fans can feel like they’re at the game – “Jockstrap,” “$18 Nachos,” and “Hashtag Field Goals” (aka Turf scent) – are among some of the varieties available. The move caused their online mentions to increase 1,200 percent in the last week, and engagement with the wine brand online has increased 550 percent, according to Talkwalker. This is the largest spike that Babe has seen since October 2019, following the announcement of the partnership that made them the “official wine of the NFL.”

#showtimecam brings Bud Light engagement to 266M

Bud Light is also getting in on the action with the launch of its “Showtime Cam” at last Thursday night’s opening game. The stunt enables fans who can’t be at the game to interact with players through live-streaming video in stadiums, creating a way for viewers at home to celebrate exciting moments along with their favorite teams. NFL fans can enter the #showtimecam contest by tagging Bud Light in posts for the chance to have their Tweets and videos featured during the regular season. The Showtime Cam premiered on Sept 10 during the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans, and by the following day it had 3,000 engagements and a potential reach of more than 266 million. Now, with a few more games under its belt, Bud Light’s marketing stunt has racked up 4,200 engagements since then.

About Talkwalker

Talkwalker is a social listening and analytics company that empowers over 2,000 brands and agencies to optimize the impact of their communication efforts. We provide companies with an easy-to-use platform to protect, measure, and promote their brands worldwide, across all communication channels. Talkwalker’s state-of-the-art social media analytics platform uses AI-powered technology to monitor and analyze online conversations in real-time across social networks, news websites, blogs and forums in 187 languages. Talkwalker has offices in New York, Luxembourg, San Francisco, Frankfurt, and Singapore. It is also the home of Talkwalker Alerts, a free alerting service used by over 500,000 communications and marketing professionals worldwide.

“Hard Knocks: LA” Debuts Season Finale

The season finale of “Hard Knocks: Los Angeles” debuted on HBO on Tuesday, Sept. 8th. The show, which followed the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles throughout preseason, came to an end two days before the beginning of the 2020 NFL season.

At 8:20 p.m. ET tonight, the defending champions the Kansas City Chiefs face off against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Field in Kansas City, Missouri. The stands will be operating at 22% capacity.

In a preview for the finale, Tyrod Taylor, the quarterback for the Los Angeles Chargers, reflects on preseason uncertainty and his readiness for the regular season during an early morning workout. 

“Hard Knocks: Los Angeles” will have encore plays Wednesday nights and will be available on HBO and to stream on HBO Max.

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #HardKnocks and follow @HardKnocksHBO, @NFLFilms and @RamsNFL & @Chargers for updates.

“Hard Knocks: Los Angeles” is narrated by Liev Schreiber.

Vaughn Hebron QxA

The Oval,” the hit BET show from Tyler Perry, will return to homes for its second season in Oct., and Vaughn Hebron is front and center.

Playing Barry, a man whose daughter was kidnapped by his ex-girlfriend, Hebron finds himself in the middle of a show about an interracial family living in the White House. Perfect on the outside but full of lies on the inside, the family brings some of the best drama to television.

Hebron was born in Baltimore and attended Pennsylvania’s Lafayette College on a Division 1 football scholarship. At Lafayette College, he joined Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics and Business and minor in Africana Studies.

He began a career in pharmaceuticals but eventually moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting. Early on he booked commercials, and he’ll appear in the Will Smith-led “King Richard” in 2021.

Hebron answered a few questions for 360 MAGAZINE regarding “The Oval,” the entertainment industry and his future.

360: Tell us about “The Oval” and your character and what we can look forward to in season 2.

Hebron: “The Oval” is a Tyler Perry soap, set in the White House, that centers around the First Family and their staff. Well, at least it did in the first season. The series has expanded and plunged into the personal and dramatic lives of each individual and is now a whirlwind of dramatics and juicy story lines. I play Barry Hallsen on the show, the son of the White House Head Butler. Barry is a young man in his early 20s trying to establish himself while providing for his daughter, Callie. In the first season, he faces extreme challenges in and out of the White House, namely having his daughter kidnapped by his baby mother, Ruth, who is part of a vicious cult. The first season follows his journey to finding his daughter and the many problems he creates for himself in doing so. What viewers can look forward to in the second season is Barry getting closer to finding his daughter but also getting closer to the imminent danger that surrounds her.

360: Before you became an actor, you were in pharmaceutical sales. How was the transition, and are you excited about the career change?

Hebron: The transition was a big adjustment, going from a steady, regular paycheck and working every day to not knowing when the next time I’ll be working but still getting paid for it. Basically, I had to start all over from square one and figure things out each step of the way. It was intimidating and uncertain, but it’s also been very fulfilling. It feels like I am being driven by something that I never felt in my corporate career: a new sense of purpose. The unknowingness was both scary and exciting.

360: What has been your biggest challenge thus far in the industry?

Hebron: Coming from a corporate background, I was used to a lot of structure. There were always deadlines, expectations that would be met, structured and upkept working conditions, and if there were any questions, someone there to help. There’s almost none of that in the industry. There are no set timelines on when we book jobs, no set path on how to be successful and reach a certain level in your career and no formal performance evaluations. Even asking for help could be just as bad as not asking for help. The biggest challenge for me was adjusting to this space of having to completely trust in the process and letting God take the wheel. I had to surrender to the journey and have faith that the things I was doing were going to work out the way they were meant to. I really had to believe that everything would happen for a reason. It was a complete mindset shift; a completely different life. I still struggle with it at times.

360: Where do you see your career in 5 years? 10 years?

Hebron: Well, one of the first lessons I learned in this industry is that you can’t put a timeline on things. At all. They could happen way sooner, or way later than you think, so just be open and ready when the time comes. My ultimate goal in this industry is to become an A-list storyteller. That’s the level I want to be at. However, storytelling comes in many different forms. Obviously acting is the main form of storytelling that I’m doing right now, but I’ve also written and pitched TV shows and see myself dabbing in that. I also see myself directing and producing one day as well. Additionally, I have a lot of ideas outside of the industry for my fitness and business, and of course I want to have a family one day.

360: Do you have any future projects that you’re allowed to talk about?

Hebron: Yes, I will be in the upcoming feature film “King Richard” starring Will Smith, as one of the main antagonists, hitting theaters Nov. 2021. We are working a couple other projects that are under wrap right now.

To learn more about Hebron, you can click right here.

You can also follow Hebron on Instagram and Twitter.

Rita Azar Illustrates a Video Games Article for 360 MAGAZINE

Colin Kaepernick x Madden 21

by Justin Lyons

Colin Kaepernick is officially back in Madden.

For the first time since 2017, football fans and Colin Kaepernick fans will have the chance to use the ex-49ers quarterback in the signature football game from EA SPORTS.

The announcement came from EA SPORTS themselves, saying, “Colin Kaepernick is one of the top free agents in football and a starting-caliber quarterback. The team at EA SPORTS, along with millions of Madden NFL fans, want to see him back in our game.”

Though Kaepernick is not signed to a team in real life or in Madden, he is available to sign to any team in Franchise mode. He’s also available in Play Now mode.

His jersey is also available in The Yard, a mode new to Madden this year that allows users to express themselves creatively. His signature celebration, which is available upon scoring with Kaepernick, depicts the quarterback raising his fist in the air to signify Black Power.

Kaepernick has been rated 81 overall, which is good for the 15th best quarterback in the league, tied with Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

According to EA SPORTS, that number was determined using data-driven simulations. They did take into account the fact that Kaepernick has not played since 2016, but his mobility and big play ability earned him the 81 overall rating.

EA SPORTS also said players looking to have complete control over their Franchise mode can change his rating however they see fit, including bringing him up to 99 overall. Adjusting his stats to 99 overall would make his only company the likes of Aaron Donald, Christian McCaffrey, Michael Thomas, Stephon Gilmore and the only 99 rated quarterback in the game, Patrick Mahomes.

Kaepernick was among the first in professional sports to kneel during the American National Anthem in protest of police brutality. Kaepernick opted out of his contract after the 2016 season, and not one of the 32 NFL teams has made a move to acquire him.

Largely suspected of being a victim of blackballing, Kaepernick has since worked as an activist in the community, especially with children. He has led rights campaigns and camps and was the face of a Nike campaign in 2018 that carried the slogan “Believe in something. Even if means sacrificing everything.”

Roger Goodell encouraged teams to sign Kaepernick in a conversation on ESPN in June, just weeks after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis.

The killing of George Floyd seemed to awaken large corporations throughout the United States, leading many to make statements, including the NFL.

Though criticized for not speaking out sooner, the NFL and Commissioner Goodell released a statement via Twitter on June 5 saying, “We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter.”

NFL teams cancelled practices and scrimmages in the past month after the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Action taken after these events could remove the stigma NFL owners appeared to have when it came to signing Kaepernick, and fans who believe in his message and talent would love to see him on the field again soon.

Football illustration by Rita Azar

‘Hard Knocks’ – Episodes 1 & 2

HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’ is back, which, if you’re an NFL fan, is really exciting. It means that football is close. Fall is coming, training camp is starting and 32 teams will clash over the course of the next five months until only one is left holding the most coveted trophy in the game.

This year, things are looking a little bit different. The three other major sports in the United States had their seasons interrupted or delayed by the pandemic. The NFL finished its season about a month before everything began to close and we stopped gathering, so the league had some time to prepare if the virus was still around come August and September. Well, here we are in the middle of August, less than two weeks away from the opening month of the football season, and the pandemic is still changing the sports world.

This year’s version of ‘Hard Knocks’ is taking advantage of a huge opportunity. In 2015, the NFL had zero teams in Los Angeles. Now, the Rams and the Chargers both call it home. The Rams beat the Chargers there, but they’ll be sharing the brand new SoFi Stadium in Inglewood beginning this upcoming season. If they can share a stadium, why not share a documentary series? Double the teams, double the drama.

Just two episodes in, it’s obvious that this season is different from every other season of ‘Hard Knocks,’ and I don’t just say that because of the pandemic. If you’re a fan of the NFL, there’s so much star power to lay your eyes on this season, and the first episode doesn’t miss a chance to capitalize on that. We’re getting the inside scoop on guys like Aaron Donald, Jared Goff, Jalen Ramsey, Derwin James, Keenan Allen and Joey Bosa, who inked his five-year, $135 million deal right in front of us.

I think we tend to take the contract stuff for granted when it comes to these athletes. I know signing a nine-figure deal is life-altering, but it happens so often with these huge stars that we don’t think twice about it. If we do think twice, we’re either eyeballing the amount, criticizing it for being too high, or raising our eyebrows at the amount knowing the team is walking away with a star player for less than he or she is worth.

Before watching ‘Hard Knocks,’ I saw that Bosa signed the extension, but I didn’t think about the way it changed his life. That’s what I love about this show. These guys are freak athletes, built to withstand one of the most extreme sports for our entertainment, but they’re also humans. Bosa signing that deal is the climax in a long life of hard work and sacrifice, and he’s going to be able to provide for his family for generations if he’s wise with it.

I also love things like the juxtaposition between Sean McVay’s home life and Anthony Lynn’s home life. Lynn, the head coach of the Chargers, barbecues in his backyard and uses a napkin attached to a fork by a rubber band to brush sauce onto his chicken legs. McVay, the head coach of the Rams, cracks open a bottle of rosé with his fiancé at his outdoor glass fireplace overlooking the world.

We get to see Jalen Ramsey, who’s going into his first full season as a Ram, go house hunting. So far we’ve learned a lot about Ramsey as a competitor and a person, both on and off the field. He has been front and center for a couple of my favorite moments so far. First, in a Zoom meeting with reporters, he fields a question about a contract extension, which he doesn’t have yet. While we see many players around the league holding out of football activities for financial security, Ramsey insists that he’s in LA to play football, and his agent and the front office will handle the financials.

The reporters continue to pry, which sets Ramsey off, and he walks out of the interview. He does end up returning, but I get why he’s upset. I also get why the reporters are asking the question, so it’s a two-way street. While we’ve seen players say they have no plans to hold out then proceed to hold out, I still admire Ramsey for that position. It can’t be easy to negotiate million dollar deals and play football under normal conditions let alone the conditions we’re looking at right now.

Then, of course, we see how these two teams are handling the pandemic. Immediately upon arriving for preseason meetings, all of these players get their temperatures taken. They’re asked questions that probably aren’t too different from everyone visiting an office or an on-site job every day. Do you have a fever? Do you have a sore throat? Are you coughing? Have you been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19?

Right in the back of my mind, I remember last season of ‘Hard Knocks’ when the Raiders had hundreds of guys in their meeting rooms. Jon Gruden, the head coach of the Raiders, would tell his team, “Knock on wood if you’re with me,” and the thunderous knocking of over 100 football players hitting their desks poured through the speakers.

These two teams can’t do that in 2020. We see team’s socially distancing and maintaining that six feet of separation everywhere they go. Team employees even use tape measures to make sure that locker hubs are six feet apart, and the teams don’t allow anyone to sit in the first four rows in meeting rooms. Everyone is masked up, including the coaches, and it seems like they’re truly doing their best to avoid the spread of the virus.

Also, as a huge baseball fan, I love that they use the Marlins as an example of how important the safety precautions are. One guy with the virus could cause an outbreak throughout the entire team and put the season on hold. It doesn’t just affect the person with the virus. It affects everyone they’ve already come in contact with and everyone they might come in contact with. One person can derail the entire season, and it’s fascinating to see such a fragile situation in the hands of men whom we normally think of as the strongest and toughest on the planet.

All of the players are also receiving tests on a regular basis. I don’t know what it was, but something about seeing Keenan Allen and Casey Hayward both act so nervous before their tests made me feel a little bit better about my outlook on the tests. To be completely honest, the fear of having the Q-tip shoved into my brain is making me more strict about my pandemic behavior. It feels good to see professional football players who are just as uneasy about the test as I am.

In the second episode, everyone in camp received a wristband, and while they don’t go too deep into how they work, I imagine they keep track of social distance. If they can figure out whose wristband has been fewer than six feet away from someone who tests positive, they might be able to shut it down quickly by quarantining those players.

They also get the option to wear face shields, which could be a very practical solution to the mask debate. In the first episode, Sean McVay makes a big deal about preferring the plastic face shield over the fabric mask, and it looks like the players will wear something really similar inside their helmets. It sounds like a simple solution to a huge problem. Teams can’t send their players onto the field in hazmat suits, but if they can avoid spitting and breathing on each other, I think that’s a huge step in the right direction.

As per usual, we get to watch all of these positional camp battles that we’d never get to be inside the locker room for without ‘Hard Knocks.’ I love that the second episode touches on Austin Ekeler, who is a star because of the preseason. He’s one of the guys who made the most of his opportunities, and now he’s a starter on a team that’s expected to compete. A lot of guys won’t have those preseason games to make an impression this year. They’ll get fewer reps in practice to show off their skillsets. While it’s not impossible to make an impression, it sure is more difficult.

I enjoyed seeing Justin Herbert work on his game. I remember when Kyler Murray first came into the league and had to learn to take snaps as a professional quarterback. He took a lot of heat for things like clapping to call for the snap, but it looks like he’s going to be just fine. I really hope Herbert can overcome that kind of criticism, which he’ll inevitably get. He has the arm talent, but we’ll get to see if he can overcome the transition.

I also loved seeing Anthony Lynn talk to his players about protests during a Zoom meeting, which launched into an entire conversation between coaches and players. Specifically, Lynn said that his main focus is football, but they can’t focus on football when injustices are taking place off the field, so Chargers players are encouraged to protest however they see fit.

The conversation continued in smaller Zoom groups. In one of those groups, Chargers long snapper Cole Mazza mentioned that he had family in the military who are very much against kneeling during the anthem. Chargers coaches and other players explained that the kneeling had nothing to do with the military and everything to do with racial injustice. I think that’s really important to see in a show like ‘Hard Knocks,’ which draws plenty of football fans on both sides of the issue. Those are the conversations that need to be had, and all players and coaches were extremely respectful of each stance.

To be completely transparent, I caught a Chargers game in Carson last season as a fan of an away team. Fans of the team I went to see probably outnumbered Chargers fans ten-to-one, and I’ve respected the Chargers since then. Their fans had good attitudes about the whole situation, and I felt bad for the players on the Chargers who didn’t play a game in front of a home crowd the entire year.

I’m pulling for them to have a better season and build a bigger fan base in their new market, so I’ll be tuning in every week for more ‘Hard Knocks.’ I’d probably be tuning in no matter which team was on the show, as we’ve been deprived of football for seven months, but I’m extra curious this year.

For anyone just as curious as I am, you can see a new episode of ‘Hard Knocks’ Tuesday on HBO at 10 p.m. EST, or you can stream the show on HBO Max. You can also catch the companion podcast on any podcast streaming platform or on YouTube and HBO Max.

One Love illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Oakley – One Love

Today, Oakley® unveils a powerful remake of Bob Marley’s iconic anthem – One Love – as part of the brand’s 2020 For the Love of Sport Campaign. The official release aims to inspire hope and positivity during a time of uncertainty by celebrating sport, and how it can enlighten and uplift. The reworked verses were co-written by Oakley Athletes including Diamond DeShields, Ryan Sheckler, Oksana Masters, Caroline Buchanan and Ítalo Ferreira. This reinterpretation evolves the classic song into a modern-day love story, amplified by an official music video that showcases a dynamic display of passion and determination as viewers follow athletes’ individual journeys and the way sport has impacted their lives and the people around them.

American-born, British-Jamaican singer-songwriter, Celeste, was selected to perform the song because of her ability to convey a message through her soulful-tones and her mantra to create meaningful music that can make a difference. Most recently, Celeste, won the 2020 Brit Rising Star Award and was named the number one breakthrough act on the BBC Music Sound of 2020 List. 

Oakley’s For The Love of Sport campaign honors one of the most universal passions – that of sport. During the writing process, Oakley interviewed those with an intimate connection to sport – its global network of athletes. In conversation, they explored the unifying qualities of sport through their personal journeys, including recent stretches of solitude and peaks of frustration. Their reflections revealed a commonality between them – sport’s ability to push-through boundaries, and overcome adversity, even during the toughest times.

“Sport has the power to evoke emotion, whether participating or spectating”, said Ben Goss, Oakley Global Marketing Director. “And the world is in a fragile place right now. By sharing what drives us and our athletes, this love of sport, our hope is that it can have a positive impact on uplifting the community during these uncertain times.”

The globally recognized One Love track by Bob Marley was a call for unity in 1965 when it was first released, and its message still rings true, 55 years later. The Oakley remake is part of a yearlong celebration of what would be Marley’s 75th birthday in 2020 and it preserves the song’s uplifting chorus and chords that inspired a generation, and refreshes the verses to captivate a contemporary audience.

“Sport, specifically soccer, was my Dad’s second love after music, and it brought him a great deal of joy throughout his life,” said Ziggy Marley. “The world really needs love right now, and we’re thrilled to work with Oakley on this amazing reinterpretation of One Love, so it can be meaningful to a new generation during a time when it’s needed most.”

Oakley’s One Love will debut exclusively on SiriusXM’s Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong Radio channel during a live broadcast with a special introduction from Skip Marley at 8AM PST on August 11, 2020. The official music video will go live simultaneously on Oakley’s YouTube channel and Instagram TV and the song will be available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow Oakley: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

Trent Shelton illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Trent Shelton – Straight Up

In his new book, Straight Up: Honest, Unfiltered, As-Real-As-I-Can-Put-It Advice for Life’s Biggest Challenges, motivational speaker, former NFL player and the founder of non-profit RehabTime, Trent Shelton, offers advice and insights to guide today’s young adults to establish healthy relationships, chase after their dreams, and live their best lives. Published by Zondervan, Straight Up releases today, August 4, 2020.  

Who do you have in your life who’s not afraid to tell you the honest-to-God truth? Who do you have who’s a real source of wisdom when life gets real? With his trademark combination of raw honesty and practical next-steps, Trent Shelton will help you navigate through some of the most confusing topics of life, including relationships, friendships, fear, depression and your own past trauma. And while you might not make it out of the storms of life unscathed, the wisdom and lessons in this book can help you make it out stronger. Straight Up is imminently honest and practical, helping you take real next steps toward being the best you. Trent vulnerably shares his own story, including his own missteps that have resulted in the hard-won lessons he shares today.

Trent Shelton is a former NFL wide receiver, who is now considered one of the most significant speakers of his generation. He is known for being “The Most Impactful Speaker” and is ranked one of the “Top Influencers in the Personal Development Space.” He aspires to promote positive change in others and reaches 50-60 million people weekly through his various social media platforms, as well as traveling the world speaking to people about how to create lasting change in their lives and reminding them that there is hope for a brighter future. Trent is a best-selling author and has penned five previous books: Inner Circle, You’re Perfect: for the Heart that’s Meant to Love You, See My Heart Not My Past, Breaking Your Own Heart, and The Greatest You. 

Growing up, Trent dreamt of one day becoming a professional football player. After playing for Baylor University and graduating college, Trent was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 2007, the Seattle Seahawks in 2008 and the Washington Redskins in 2009. After achieving his dream, Trent still felt incomplete and found himself seeking out worldly possessions in an attempt to fill that hole. Following the birth of his son and his experience with the trials of life, Trent decided he needed to change his ways. 

In 2009, Trent began creating videos to share his newfound perspective and journey with the world, ending each video with the words, “It’s Rehab Time.” The public’s reception to Trent’s videos was powerful and he soon found his audience, now dubbed “Rehabbers,” growing by the thousands. Rehab Time is now a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that encourages personal change and self-help strategies and reaches 50-60 million people weekly with his positive message of hope and inspiration in the face of hardship.

Follow Trent Shelton: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Football illustration by Rita Azar

Washington NFL Team Changes Name

By Gabriella Scerbo

Following hundreds of protests condemning racism, the Washington Redskins football team combat discrimination by changing their name. 

Much of the Native American experience has been one filled with hatred, violence, and disadvantage throughout U.S. history. The term “redskin” was a way to identify Native Americans from white colonizers in the 19th century. Today, with the derogatory term cheered in crowds, adorned on merchandise, and profited from by the NFL, the discrimination of Native Americans continues to be normalized. 

Corporations including Target and Nike have agreed to stop selling Washington Redskin merchandise if the name is not changed; Amazon has already taken to removing the team’s merchandise. Now, the team plans to change the mascot as well as any Native American imagery connected to the sports team.

Although the Washington Redskin name is more than eighty years old, it is better late than never to better the NFL. While the Washington football team may be first team at any national level in sports to change their racist name, they are hopefully not the last. Hopefully more companies will follow suit as the world continues to question the racist implications and origins of symbols in our society.

Colin Kaepernick illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

Colin Kaepernick × Disney

By Mina Tocalini

Civil rights activist and former football quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, partners with the Walt Disney Company via his production company Ra Vision Media. The collaboration will direct their projects towards elevating Black and Brown directors, creators, storytellers, and producers, in an effort to inspire today’s youth, announced Kaepernick on media. The first project will follow Kapernick’s life story in a docuseries.

While playing for the San Francisco 49ers, Kaepernick’s protest of the national anthem became the topic of national debate. Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem to draw attention to the social injustice and police brutality faced by African Americans every day in the United States. In light of the recent uproar of activism after the death of George Floyd, Kaepernick’s partnership with Disney will provide the much-needed stories and perspectives that have been denied in our society. 

The Undefeated will be working side by side with Kaepernick to develop future projects committed to create compelling stories that will educate, enlighten and entertain. The Undefeated is a platform established with ESPN that explores the intersections of race, sports and culture. Nonetheless, the partnership will work with all Walt Disney affiliates: Walt Disney Television, ESPN, Hulu, Pixar.

Follow Colin Kaepernick: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Follow Disney: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Follow The Undefeated: Facebook | Twitter

360 MAGAZINE, RITA AZAR, ILLUSTRATIONS, FOOTBALL, NFL

Is Kaepernick going to return to the NFL?

With all of the protests on civil injustices and the league backing the black lives matter movement, it’s left many of us wondering, will Kap finally get back in the NFL?

So, will he get another shot? Let’s dissect a few factors that may determine the answer to this question.

He’s Past The Prime Age

Colin Kaepernick is just a little bit on the other side of the ‘right’ age. He’s 32. So, this also means his window of opportunity is closing. He needs to get into the league now … or next season if he wants to have a legitimate chance for success on the field again. Most QBs play their best football at the age of 28. It’s the year they peak, and after, it’s typically a bit downhill from there. That said, it doesn’t mean a 32 or 35-year-old QB is going to play poorly, just that they were probably a little better at 28. 

In Kap’s case, he was 28 during his final season, but he peaked when he was 26. In 2105 he had an injury-riddled year that left his stats wanting, and in 2016, he came back and played 12 games but went 1-10 and passed for just 2,241 yards. 

The Talent Factor

There is no doubt that Kap is a talented athlete, but people forget that leading up to his civil rights activism and alleged blackballing from the NFL, he had consecutive not-so-great seasons. So, even though I think the league eventually blackballed him, I don’t believe that was the case when all the trouble started. It’s just an opinion based on observation, but I think that initially, he just wasn’t worth the trouble. Because of his performance in the two previous seasons, he was a risky buy. Then you add in the uncertainties surrounding his socio-political stance, and it becomes even more precarious.

With all that said, he was still probably at least a worthy guy to have as a back-up, and I believe it took the league way too long to get on board with how the bulk of their players feel. It’s something that should have been considered and respected a long time ago. Instead, the issues that Kaepernick was bringing to light on a household level were distorted. Instead of, ‘hey, this is a real problem,’ it turned into, ‘anyone who kneels is unAmerican and hates freedom; hates the military.’ The media did a great job of flipping the script and ignoring the real issues.

But where does a guy like Kaepernick fit in the landscape of the NFL now? The odds at SBR say that he’ll play in 2020 are +275, so it’s a moderate dog number, also the favorite time to sign him at the moment are the Ravens: 

  • Baltimore Ravens +225
  • Seattle Seahawks +275
  • Houston Texans +400
  • Los Angeles Chargers +450
  • Kansas City Chiefs +600
  • Jacksonville Jaguars +750
  • Minnesota Vikings +800
  • Tennessee Titans +1000
  • Philadelphia Eagles +1200

Team Needs

The last two seasons were really where Kap could have been put to use. There was a severe lack of QB talent in the 2018 season, and the 2019 season saw a fantastic train wreck of injuries. But what about now? 2020 doesn’t have the same QB needs. There have been a couple of decent QB draft years, so there are many QBs right now, but not many starting jobs. Which means, some starters will be playing second-chair, also taking away back-up jobs.

That said, teams like the Bengals and Panthers are still in need of a capable back-up, in my humble opinion. But, is Kap NFL ready? He may be, but is he more prepared than the handfuls of guys who haven’t missed four years?

The Intangible

Colin Kaepernick is a ‘people’s champion’ right now. He has become a folk hero. Brett Favre recently compared Kap to Pat Tillman, who sacrificed his NFL career to join the Army Rangers after 9/11. It’s opposite ends of the spectrum, but both of these people actively stood up for what they believe. 

Farve also brought up a good point. Even though Kap is 32, he hasn’t been getting hit over the last four years, so his body will much younger than a typical 32-year-old QB. But more than anything, it’s a chance for the team that signs him to support social justice truly. If a team were to sign, Kap it would garner millions of new fans — it would probably also lose thousands … but who wants racist fans anyhow? So, will Kap return? We’ll have to wait and see.