Ben & Jerry’s unveiled a billboard and a mural honoring former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in Tampa, Fla., this week, just days before the Super Bowl is set to take place in the same city on Sunday.
On Monday, which was also the first day of Black History Month, the ice cream company took to Twitter to share a photo of its new billboard in Tampa. The billboard featured Kaepernick holding up a fist promoting one of the company’s newest frozen dessert flavors, “Change the Whirled,” a collaboration with Kaepernick it debuted in December.
Later on Wednesday, the ice cream maker announced a 30-foot-by-90-foot mural it unveiled in Tampa this week.
The artwork featured a group of kids wearing T-shirts with phrases like “Power to the People” and “I Know My Rights.” One of the kids also wore a shirt with a picture of Kaepernick holding up a fist. The company said the kids depicted in the artwork were “Tampa youth alongside Know Your Rights Camp (KYRC) volunteers.”
The company said the mural was created by the same artist who designed the artwork for Kaepernick’s new frozen dessert, Brandan “BMike” Odums.
“As we look back, it’s clear that Colin was on the right side of history,” Chris Miller, who heads the company’s global activism department, said in a statement. “His pre-game protests were before George Floyd’s murder, before the 2020 summer of racial reckoning.”
Kaepernick founded KYRC, which works to combat racial injustice in the country and advance the well-being of Black and Brown communities, in 2016.
That same year, he became the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem before games to protest racial inequality and police brutality. He has not played in the league since that season.
“He knew a long time ago that we need to address the root causes of racism and the structures of our society that are so brutal to Black people. We wanted to be part of the effort to honor Colin’s courage and legacy because we share the same values,” Miller added.
The company said the mural unveiled Wednesday is “part of a larger effort to support locally owned businesses and community organizations and to contribute to the vibrancy of Old West Tampa.”
On Super Bowl Sunday, the company said it will also have a “free, COVID-safe community drive-thru” at the site of the mural. At the drive-thru set to open at noon, Ben & Jerry’s said locals will be able to pick up family-sized meals, a pint of Kaepernick’s Change the Whirled dessert, as well as “gift certificates to a local salon and barbershop (while supplies last).”
The effort is the result of a partnership between the company and Kaepernick’s organization.
*story by The Hill