Disney Signs First Look Deal With Colin Kaepernick

The Walt Disney Company has signed NFL quarterback and activist Colin Kaepernick to a first-look production deal that will create content exploring race, social injustice and equality, the company announced Monday.

The first project under the new deal -- which will extend across ESPN, Hulu, Pixar, and streaming service The Undefeated -- will be an exclusive docuseries chronicling Kaepernick’s journey, told from his perspective, said Disney executives.

Kaepernick, who led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013, hasn't played in the NFL since 2016 after he began kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality. In 2019, Kaepernick settled a lawsuit against the NFL accusing the league of collusion against him. 

“During this unprecedented time, The Walt Disney Company remains committed to creating diverse and inclusive content that resonates and matters,” said Disney executive chairman Bob Iger in a statement. “Colin’s experience gives him a unique perspective on the intersection of sports, culture and race, which will undoubtedly create compelling stories that will educate, enlighten and entertain, and we look forward to working with him on this important collaboration."

Kaepernick added: “I am excited to announce this historic partnership with Disney across all of its platforms to elevate Black and Brown directors, creators, storytellers, and producers, and to inspire the youth with compelling and authentic perspectives. I look forward to sharing the docuseries on my life story, in addition to many other culturally impactful projects we are developing.”

Kaepernick's Ra Vision Media has enlisted former ESPN SportsCenter anchor Jemele Hill as a producer on the upcoming documentary project.  

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.