Medium announced that Colin Kaepernick is joining its board of directors, the first non-white member of the board. Medium also will partner with the ex-NFL star and civil rights activist to develop anti-racist content for the blogging site.
The other members of Medium’s board — which remains all-male — are Medium founder/CEO Ev Williams; Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter and Jelly Industries; Josh Elman of Greylock Ventures; and Ben Horowitz of Andreessen Horowitz.
In addition to the board seat, Medium will partner with Kaepernick Publishing to create feature content focused on race and civil rights in America. Jermaine Hall, editor-in-chief of Level, will work closely with Kaepernick on his editorial contributions. Kaepernick will be writing stories and collaborating on editorial features for Level/Medium and Medium’s new blog Momentum on anti-Black racism and civil rights in U.S. society. He also will interview high profile leaders, activists and athletes, and create content from these interviews that will live on Medium.
Medium is an open publishing platform that lets creators earn money for their work through the Medium Partner Program, which distributes revenue from paying members of the site. The company says Medium is designed to “make idea-sharing more accessible.”
“We’ve been in talks with Colin for some time, and we are honored to be electing him to join our board,” Medium’s Ev Williams, who is also a Twitter co-founder, said in a statement. “Colin’s voice and actions have led the discussion on racial justice, and the world is finally catching up to him. He’s an incisive, independent thinker, whose integrity as an activist and athlete has inspired so many.”
Kaepernick is the founder of Know Your Rights Camp, an organization dedicated to advancing the empowerment of people of color through education, self-empowerment and mass mobilization.
“I am excited for Kaepernick Publishing to partner with Medium to continue to elevate Black voices in the news and publishing industry,” Kaepernick said in a statement. “I also look forward to creating new opportunities and avenues for Black writers and creators with my new role as a Board member.”
As the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, Kaepernick in 2016 drew widespread attention for kneeling in protest of racial injustice during the national anthem. Donald Trump blasted Kaepernick and other NFL players who joined the silent protests, calling them “sons of bitches” and urging teams to fire them. After the 49ers told Kaepernick in early 2017 they planned to release him, he opted to become a free agent. Kaepernick later alleged the NFL and team owners colluded to blacklist him for his pregame protests; last year he reached a settlement with the league whose terms were not disclosed.
Medium, founded in 2012, says it has 170 million monthly readers. Last year, Medium launched a suite of publications including ZORA and Level, which speak to issues uniquely faced by women and men of color, as well as GEN, OneZero, Elemental, Forge and Marker.