“What’s not to love?” she asked.
DuVernay has long been a supporter of Kaepernick’s, particularly when it came to his activism, and the two are now friends. He was the first player in the NFL to kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality. The statement spread and led to controversy, and the league ultimately banned kneeling on the field during the song.
“I think his actions have been inspiring to so many people. I see what he’s done as art,” DuVernay said of him last year in an interview with GQ.
“I believe that art is seeing the world that doesn’t exist. You know a lot of people excel at creativity — making TV, movies, painting, writing books — but you can be an artist in your own life. Civil-rights activists are artists. Athletes are artists. People who imagine something that is not there. If you can imagine something that is not there and endeavor to make it be there, to manifest your imagination? What’s in your heart? What’s in your mind? And make it so? That’s an artist’s spirit,” she said.
“So definitely his resistance, his protest, the manner in which he’s gone on living life in his interactions with the NFL have been extremely inspiring to me as an artist. Extremely motivating and nourishing. I just feel fortunate that I’ve had a chance to get to know him personally, to talk to him,” she continued.
Kaepernick, 30, was adopted by a white couple not long after his birth and hails from Turlock, California. It appears that DuVernay’s series won’t touch on the kneeling protests he launched but rather his time as an athlete at John H. Pitman High School. He was an all-state nominee during his senior year in football, basketball and baseball.