Colin Kaepernick’s Kunta Kinte Shirt Gets Strong Reaction From Apparel Brand

colin kaepernick

Getty NFL free agent Colin Kaepernick.

The Colin Kaepernick saga continued last weekend when the blacklisted QB held a public workout at a high school in the Atlanta, Georgia-area to showcase his still-elite talent for any NFL teams that would come and watch.

During his workout, Kaepernick wore a t-shirt that read: Kunta Kinte. Kunta Kinte is a character in the 1976 novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family by American by author Alex Haley.

Roots detailed slavery and was Haley’s account of Kunta Kinte’s life.

Roots was later made into a television miniseries in 1977 and later remade again in 2016.

Kaepernick ordered the t-shirt from a company called Blacktagapparel.

Blacktagapparel was founded in 2009 by Brooklyn native, Abdul Chatman and business partners Hassan “Beige” Williams and Mike “Make” Mentore.

Earlier today, I checked in with Blacktagapparel’s creative director, Elie Rinchere who gave me the scoop on the clothing line. He stressed to me that the clothing line is not new and that the line’s popularity buzzed when they began their designs that honored historically black colleges and universities like Howard University, Hamptom University, Morgan State and other notable HBCU’s.

Rinchere says that the company’s phones, e-mails and Instagram account has been active since Kaepernick wore the shirt on Saturday.

“I personally love it,” he told me by phone. “We as a brand love it as well. A lot of our pieces are similar in that the message is bold. It’s a design that’s worth wearing. Seeing somebody wear that and seeing other people ask questions, that’s the whole point to clear up any preconceived notions.”

Kaepernick is not the first notable to wear the shirt. Grammy Award and Academy Award winner, Common has been seen decked out in their apparel. So has Power 105 Breakfast Club host, Charlamagne Tha God. “It’s great,” Rinchere says of Kaepernick.

“Just what he stands for, how he’s established himself and his voice. It kind of makes sense. It’s cool for him to wear that shirt, with his platform, being bold and standing proud. I just hope to see him do what’s best for him. If he’s wearing an NFL uniform, great. If he’s wearing a Kunta Kinte shirt that’s great too.”

Rinchere says the company watched his workout on Youtube and they were impressed. “I thought he did good,” he told me.

“It was like him being banned had nothing to do with his skill. I am just as much of a fan of Colin as anybody.”

For those keeping score at home: Kaepernick’s workout was supposed to be an NFL-sponsored event, but that changed at the last minute when Kaepernick declined to sign the league’s waiver and the league refused to accept anything less.

“We are disappointed that Colin did not appear for his workout,” the NFL said in a released statement on Saturday afternoon.

“He informed us of that decision at 2:30 pm today along with the public.

Colin’s decision has no effect on his status in the League. He remains an unrestricted free agent eligible to sign with any club.”

Representatives from seven NFL teams attended the revised workout, nonetheless. Those teams included the Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans and Washington Redskins.

Reports afterward were mostly positive as far as Kaepernick’s physical abilities are concerned. Jason La Canfora tweeted that, “Colin Kaepernick got some very positive feedback from the scouts in attendance about his elite arm strength and ability to throw the deep ball.”

But Kaepernick did not leave the field with any contract offers, as far as we know, and remains unsigned mid-week.

In terms of best fits for the 2019 season, few of the teams in attendance make much sense. His old team, the 49ers, are already a -1500 lock in the NFL playoff odds, according to Jimmy Garoppolo is playing well enough under center and Nick Mullens has proven a capable backup.

The Chiefs have reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes and while he’s been banged up this year, backup Matt Moore has looked solid in his place. Former Miami and Jacksonville starter Chad Henne is also on the roster as the third-stringer.

Washington has already declared rookie first-rounder Dwayne Haskins the starter for the rest of the season and still have veterans Case Keenum and Colt McCoy on the depth chart. The focus of their rebuild is developing Haskins.

The Titans could be an option for 2020, but Ryan Tannehill has been decent since taking over for a regressing Marcus Mariota (104.4 passer rating).

At 5-5, Tennessee is still in the AFC Wild Card race and won’t be making a QB switch barring injury.
The two teams that make the most sense among those in attendance are Detroit and Philadelphia.

The Lions just lost Matt Stafford for the foreseeable future; they are now starting a limited Jeff Driskel with only undrafted rookie David Blough behind him. Driskel has been half-decent in two games, averaging 264 passing yards and 44 rushing yards, with three TDs and one INT. But no one has illusions about the ceiling for the 2016 sixth-round pick. With Detroit 3-6-1 and out of the playoff race, they could afford to take a look at Kaepernick.

If he plays well and Stafford’s back doesn’t heal properly, they have a fill-in starter. If he plays well and Stafford heals perfectly, they have a potential trade chip.

The Eagles are in a different scenario. At 5-5 they are just a game behind Dallas in the NFC East. The postseason is still the goal. Carson Wentz is the entrenched starter, but he has a concerning injury history and neither backup Josh McCown nor third-stringer Nate Sudfeld is likely to lead them there if Wentz goes down again.

All in all, it’s extremely unlikely that Wentz signs this season, but if it’s going to happen, expect it to be with either Detroit or Philly. They have shown a modicum of interest and signing Kaepernick would be a no-lose situation for both, outside of the PR hit they may take.

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