The Walt Disney Company has announced a wide-ranging production deal with former National Football League quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s production arm Ra Vision Media.
The partnership will focus on telling scripted and unscripted stories that explore race, social injustice, and the quest for equity. It also will provide a platform to showcase the work of minority directors and producers.
The deal will extend across all Disney platforms including Walt Disney Television, ESPN, Hulu, digital animation studio Pixar, and, specifically, The Undefeated, ESPN’s platform which focuses on the issues of race in sports. Financial details were not revealed.
An ESPN Films-produced documentary series chronicling Kaepernick’s life over the past five years will be the first project in development. It will include new interviews and never-seen-before archival material. Journalist Jemele Hill, who previously worked for ESPN and The Undefeated, is a producer on the project.
Bob Iger, Disney’s executive chairman, said in a statement: “During this unprecedented time, The Walt Disney Company remains committed to creating diverse and inclusive content that resonates and matters. 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.”
Last month, it was announced that streaming service Netflix will produce a six-part scripted dramatic series charting Kaepernick’s journey to activism. Colin in Black and White is being made in partnership with Kaepernick himself and acclaimed film maker Ava DuVernay. No date has been set for the release.
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback began kneeling during the national anthem at NFL games to protest police brutality and racial inequality in 2016, drawing both support and criticism. He has not played in the NFL since becoming a free agent in 2017.
Kaepernick later filed and then settled a lawsuit against the NFL alleging collusion to keep him out of the league.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell recently said he supports and encourages teams in the league to sign Kaepernick, 32, to a contract.