Sportress of Blogitude

Colin Kaepernick billboard unveiled in Tampa ahead of Super Bowl LV

Colin Kaepernick has all but been relegated to professional football exile in light of what many believe was prompted by how the former quarterback was blacklisted by the NFL over his social activism.

While the one-time superstar quarterback has not stepped foot on an NFL field since being unable to find a team willing sign him following the 2016 season, his presence continues to loom large over the league, even on its biggest stage.

Ben & Jerry’s unveiled a Kaepernick billboard in Tampa, Fla., this week, which is of course the site of Sunday’s showdown between the hometown Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium.

The billboard promotes “Change the Whirled,” a vegan ice cream created by Ben & Jerry’s in collaboration with Kaepernick. All proceeds benefit Kaepernick’s “Know Your Rights Camp” charity, an organization that aspires to “advance the liberation and well-being of Black & Brown communities and elevate the next generation of change leaders.”

Ben & Jerry’s is also behind a massive mural that recently sprung up in Tampa. The 90′ x 30′ mural bears a depiction of Kaepernick and “celebrates Tampa youth and joy on the journey to justice.” It was created by muralist-activist BMIKE.

Along with the billboard promotion of its new Kaepernick-inspired ice cream and its support in creating a mural celebrating the activist’s ongoing efforts to promote social and racial justice, Ben & Jerry’s will also operate a “free, COVID-safe community drive-thru” at the mural’s site on Super Bowl Sunday.

At it, family-sized meals and pints of Kaepernick’s Change the Whirled will be distributed, along with gift certificates to local barber shops and salons.

Kaepernick’s evident banishment from the NFL stemmed from his kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality. The fact that the league is belatedly rallying around social justice causes in the wake of last year’s police-involved deaths of Black Americans George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, among others, has once again raised his profile.

The league’s response to the public outcry over systemic racism — not to mention the efforts regarding the same by of a number of teams — involved NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issuing a video statement in which he said the league was “wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.”

During his time away from the gridiron, Kaepernick has continued his commitment to activism against social injustice, efforts highlighted by a controversial “Just Do It” ad campaign from Nike that launched near the beginning of the 2018 NFL season.