There's something more than a little bit ironic about buying an NFL jersey with Colin Kaepernick's name on the back nowadays. You're putting money in the NFL's hands to support a protest that the NFL doesn't support.
Well, Colin Kaepernick came up with a solution to that very conundrum by releasing his own jersey today—devoid of NFL affiliation, of course. Moreover, the black No. 7 jersey with "#IMWITHKAP" on the front and "Kaepernick" on the back will be sold with 20 percent of the proceeds going to the Know Your Rights Camp. The Campaign is funded by the Colin Kaepernick Foundation to help empower young people by educating them on their rights and how to interact with law enforcement.
Here's a preview of the back of the jersey:
And the website has more of the front too.
If you listen closely, you can hear the rumbling already: He just got paid by Nike, why not donate all the proceeds? That is perhaps a fair criticism, but we don't know the actual terms of the Nike deal, and it seems fairly certain that he will never be employable in the NFL and endorsements will be his only source of income going forward. And also, did you know his new deal explicitly provides that Nike will donate to the charity? Or that 20 percent is precisely 20 percent more than would be donated to this charity if he did not sell the jerseys, which by the way did not just magically appear in a warehouse? Or that the NFL generally does not donate anything from its jersey sales, except in special circumstances like October's breast cancer awareness month? Even with that pink breast cancer awareness gear they roll out, very little money actually goes to charity.
According to data obtained from the NFL by Darren Rovell of ESPN, the NFL "takes a 25% royalty from the wholesale price (1/2 retail), donates 90% of royalty to American Cancer Society."
In other words, for every $100 in pink merchandise sold, $12.50 goes to the NFL. Of that, $11.25 goes to the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the NFL keeps the rest. The remaining money is then divided up by the company that makes the merchandise (37.5%) and the company that sells the merchandise (50.0%), which is often the NFL and the individual teams.
When word first spread that Kaepernick was protesting during the national anthem, his jersey sales skyrocketed to tops in the league. In response, he donated whatever proceeds he received to charity. Now that he's out a job (and a jersey) he's finding a way to keep donating to a cause he believes in.
This article originally appeared on VICE Sports US.