Colin Kaepernick’s leftism crystallized as he attended courses at the University of California, Berkeley, after joining the NFL as a San Francisco 49ers quarterback in 2011.

The New York Post’s Shaun King spoke of Kaepernick’s political “metamorphosis” with The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill in an interview published last Sunday:

Colin [told me] he’s always, you know, he’s always been bothered by police brutality, but he never understood it as the systemic problem that it was. And he’s a young guy — he’s 21 when he came into the league — and he literally started auditing a few classes at Berkeley, and from those classes began understanding what systemic racism was, began understanding the systems behind mass incarceration or white supremacy or police brutality. And he was doing this with very few people, including myself, not knowing. I had no idea he was auditing classes. He was kind of undergoing a personal metamorphosis, and he was doing it while he was recovering from the surgeries that he had had.

And it just caused him to be more acutely aware and sensitive to it. And during last summer, he saw the deaths of Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and they just affected him personally. And really without talking to anybody, he decided at a pre-season game that he wasn’t going to stand up for the national anthem. And so Colin and I had been talking for couple of months at that point, and I think it really was a spur of the moment, gut decision, where he heard the anthem and just decided like, “I’m not going to stand up for that. I don’t feel like it. I don’t believe it.” And he did that for two weeks before anybody even noticed. These were just preseason games. And when they noticed, a local reporter asked him about it at the end of the game, and that he hadn’t prepared any bullets and he just said: Listen, I’m disturbed by the crisis of police brutality in America. I don’t believe that America keeps its promises to black people in particular. And, you know he was doing this to be in solidarity with victims of police brutality.

Kaepernick has "a fierce love for this country," alleges King, adding that "a lot of what Colin does is because he wants to see this country get better."

Throughout the interview, both King and Scahill frame African Americans as a neo-proletariat in modern America via their shared neo-Marxist sociological lens.

Kaepernick’s class selection included one on “the history of black representation in popular culture,” taught by Ameer Hasan Loggins.

Loggins wrote of his friendship with Kaepernick in an August-published post, praising Kaepernick’s anti-Americanism as a moral endeavor:

Time has proven Colin to be on the right side of history. The sentiment around him has become more nuanced amongst those that support him and his stance. But his detractors are still using dispelled, preseason talking points: that he’s disrespecting a song that has been proven to celebrate the institution of slavery; a false narrative about dishonoring the troops, while troops across the country have publicly come out in support of him and his protest; that pig socks make whatever else he does irrelevant. …

Colin will forever be known as a champion of the people.

View Loggins’ academic biography below, via UC Berkeley’s African American Studies website:

Below is a photo of Kaepernick with a Revolutionary Communist Party (RevCom) agitator from last November:

Kaepernick has also expressed support for communists such as Fidel Castro and Che Guevara.

Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter.