Ex-49er Colin Kaepernick inspired by death of Mario Woods in San Francisco: report

Mario Woods was shot to death 21 times by San Francisco police on Dec. 2, 2015 after officers say the 26-year-old wouldn't drop his knife and began shuffling toward a group of bystanders at a nearby bus stop.

Eight months later, former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee.

Kaepernick first kneeled during the NFL preseason season as the national anthem rang out on Aug. 14, 2016. His quiet protest -- which later erupted into a fierce public debate that still rages today -- was launched to call attention to his sense of police brutality and racism in this country. 

And it was an act inspired in part by Woods' death, according to Paper Magazine, in a story that Kaepernick helped edit. 

"The discussion happened shortly after the execution of Mario Woods," Kaepernick told Paper, which features fashion, beauty and political news.

Many supported Kaepernick and athletes throughout the world have joined him in taking a knee. Still, many others have criticized him, including President Donald Trump who said owners should "fire" NFL players who protest the anthem.

But Kaepernick wasn't deterred, even though he said Woods' death left him feeling hurt and angry. And he dove into research. 

Week after week, Kaepernick could be found devouring texts on the global struggle for Black freedom and self-determination, Paper described. His bookshelf was overflowing with titles like "The Autobiography of Malcolm X;" "Women, Race, & Class" by Angela Davis and Huey P. Newton's autobiography, "Revolutionary Suicide." The texts offered Kaepernick ideas for architecting a camp in October 2016, two months after he took a knee, to help predominantly Black and brown children.

Today, there are Know Your Rights Camps in Harlem, Chicago, New Orleans, Amsterdam, Miami and Baltimore, Paper reported. The camps are free to all youth, as they are funded by Kaepernick himself and through small donations.

Kaepernick hasn't played since the 2016 season. He opted out of his 49ers contract in March 2017 and later filed a grievance with Eric Reid against the NFL for collusion. The two sides reached an agreement on a settlement in February 2019.