Opinion: Colin Kaepernick’s NFL career is history, in more ways than one

It’s fitting that this Colin Kaepernick collusion case was settled right smack in the middle of Black History Month.

Don’t forget how this episode began – with Kaepernick, then a San Francisco 49ers quarterback, taking a knee during the national anthem in 2016 to protest the rash of shootings of unarmed African-Americans, on top of other social injustices.

“Kaepernick will always be remembered as having carried the burden of that struggle,” Dr. Harry Edwards, the renowned sociologist and human-rights advocate, told USA TODAY Sports on Saturday.

The first time Kaepernick took a knee, Edwards — a 49ers consultant — gathered the quarterback’s jersey, shoes and other belongings, then in forward-thinking fashion, shipped them to the Smithsonian's African-American Museum of History and Culture.

Edwards told Damion Thomas, the museum’s curator of sports, “You need to put it right next to other great athletes who took a stand at a critical time.”

People like Muhammad Ali. Jim Brown. John Carlos and Tommie Smith. It has been a little more than 50 years since Edwards organized the Olympic Project for Human Rights, which led to the significant statement that U.S. track stars Carlos and Smith made on the medal stand at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. They raised black-gloved fists during the anthem to protest some of the same issues that inspired Kaepernick to take a knee.

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