WASHINGTON – With rumors afire that San Francisco 49ers quarterback has not only embraced “Black Lives Matter” activism but Islam, it’s worth reflecting on the way he came into the NFL – as a “Christian” celebrity, with most of the controversy in his life concerning his tattoos.
“The first one I got was Psalm 18:39, a scroll on my right shoulder,” Colin Kaepernick told Hollywood Gossip in 2013.
He chose the New Living Translation, which reads: “You arm me with strength for battle. You make my adversaries bow at my feet.”
The then 25-year-old added, “Basically, it’s saying the Lord is giving me all the tools to be successful, I just have to go out and do my part to uphold that.”
According to widespread reports, still unconfirmed, he and his girlfriend, Nessa Diab, an MTV DJ, may be planning an Islamic-style wedding. During Ramadan, he posted a greeting on Instagram wishing his friends the best for the holiday: “kaepernick7 I know a lot of people who were fasting during Ramadan, wishing you a Happy Eid!”
Angry fans were burning their Kaepernick jerseys Saturday after the quarterback garnered headlines for remaining seated for the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the team’s preseason game on Friday night.
His white adoptive, Christian parents, Rick and Teresa Kaepernick, weren’t happy with all the attention his heavily tattooed arms, shoulders and torso received.
“It annoyed me,” Mrs. Kaepernick told USA Today. “You are categorizing this kid on something like tattoos? Really? Saying other guys are role models because they don’t have them? Really? Some of these other guys don’t have crystal clear reputations. That’s how you’re going to define this kid? It’s pretty irritating, but it is what it is.”
His parents didn’t encourage the tattoos, but were pleased that he chose Bible verses inscribed on his biceps. Citing a prohibition against tattoos in Leviticus 19:28, many Christians eschew them.
“Colin’s a fairly religious kid, but he’s not in your face about it,” his father told the paper. “It’s more about him and what he believes.”
According to Colin’s father, the QB “was baptized Methodist, confirmed Lutheran and went to a Baptist church in Reno.”
Kaepernick, who starred at the University of Nevada, became a breakout hit with fans in 2012 for his play and his swagger, which became known as “Kaepernicking.”
But he’s become more famous in recent days for refusing to stand before a pre-game playing of the national anthem, saying about his “Black Lives Matter”-style demonstration: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
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Meanwhile, Kaepernick has been dating Diab, a graduate of UC Berkeley’s mass communications department.
Known professionally as just “Nessa,” she worked nights at San Francisco radio station Wild 94.9 from 2009 to 2014. At 31, she’s three years older than Kaepernick.
According to an East Bay Times profile, she was born in Southern California, but frequently moved between the U.S. and Middle East growing up, thanks to her father’s job.
While her faith is not known, several unconfirmed reports say she, also a “Black Lives Matter” proponent, is a Muslim – though she hardly dresses in traditional hijab.
Former U.S. Rep. Allen West had a Scripture of his own to recommend to Kaepernick.
“I would recommend a simple scripture from the wise King Solomon for Mr. Kaepernick, Proverbs 17:28 (NIV): ‘Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues,'” he posted on his website. “Or, as the old folks down South would say, ‘best for a stupid person to keep their mouth shut and not open it and let everyone know they are.'”
He added: “When the National Anthem is played, I salute because I am a black man born and raised in the inner city afforded the opportunity for greatness in my own right. May you seek God’s forgiveness and find humility, because we, the people are not going to forget what you did and said.”