Colin Kaepernick Protest Items Shown in Smithsonian Black Lives Matter Exhibit

Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2017

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) and San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold (58) kneel during the playing of the National anthem before the first half of an NFL football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore/Associated Press

The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History will feature items relating to Colin Kaepernick's national anthem protest as part of its Black Lives Matter collection. 

"The National Museum of African American History and Culture has nearly 40,000 items in our collection," the museum's sports curator, Damion Thomas, told USA Today's A.J. Perez on Friday. "The Colin Kaepernick collection is in line with the museum's larger collecting efforts to document the varied areas of society that have been impacted by the Black Lives Matter movement."

In May, sports sociologist and civil rights activist Harry Edwards told USA Today's Jarrett Bell he had worked to acquire pieces of Kaepernick memorabilia to donate to the museum for a future exhibit. 

"I said, 'Don't wait 50 years to try to get some memorabilia and so forth on Kaepernick'" Edwards said. "'Let me give you a game jersey, some shoes, a picture. ... And it should be put right there alongside Muhammad Ali. He's this generation's Ali.'"

Players across the NFL have followed Kaepernick's initial decision to sit or kneel for the anthem as a protest against racial injustice in the United States. 

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett has pledged to protest during the anthem all season long, while Marshawn Lynch was spotted sitting for "The Star-Spangled Banner" during the Oakland Raiders' preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals last Saturday. 

The National Museum of African American History and Culture, located in Washington, D.C., features an exhibit dedicated to sports that "demonstrates the centrality of African American contributions and challenges to contemporary American culture and politics." 

Items on display include Tommie Smith's warm-up suit from the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, a statue of Jackie Robinson and Jack Johnson's boxing glove.