Hollywood director Ava DuVernay has announced her intentions to develop a TV comedy series based on the high school years of national anthem protester and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
The A Wrinkle in Time director recently told Vanity Fair magazine that Kaepernick “inspires” her with his anthem protests.
DuVernay is developing the Kaepernick comedy with Wrinkle in Time producer Jim Whitaker. “It’s Friday Night Lights meets Everybody Hates Chris,” says DuVernay of the two popular TV shows. “What’s not to love?”
“I think his actions have been inspiring to so many people. I see what he’s done as art. 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,” DuVernay told GQ last year.
“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,” she added. “Extremely motivating and nourishing. I just feel fortunate that I’ve had a chance to get to know him personally, to talk to him.”
DuVernay did not expound on just how much of Kaepernick’s activism would be included in the show, if at all, nor did she offer detail about what might be funny about his upbringing.
Colin Kaepernick was adopted by white parents soon after his birth and grew up in the suburban town of Turlock, California. The former 49er excelled in sports at John H. Pitman High School and made the All-State team his senior year in all three major sports, football, basketball, and baseball.
Kaepernick was such a standout in baseball that the Chicago Cubs drafted him in the 43rd round in 2009. Kaepernick, though, chose to pursue the NFL instead of baseball. He was drafted into the NFL in 2011 with a trade between the Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers.
Kaepernick played six seasons with the 49ers but became a nationally recognized name when in his sixth season he decided to begin protesting during the playing of the national anthem by first remaining seated, then later taking a knee.
At the end of the 2016 season, Kaepernick opted out of the remainder of his contract with the 49ers and turned to free agency. However, as the 2017 season drew near, the once-first-string quarterback found no takers for his skills and he remained without a team in 2017 and has not been signed thus far in 2018.
Kaepernick filed a grievance case with the National Football League Players Association alleging that the league’s owners “colluded” to keep him from pursuing his football career. So far, a long list of NFL coaches, owners, and officials have testified under oath in that “collusion” case.
For her part, Ava DuVernay was celebrated for her latest film, A Wrinkle in Time, but the movie was not a great commercial or critical success. The film made $33.3 million on a $103 million budget meaning it will likely barely break even, Insider reported.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.