As Tampa, Florida, prepares for Super Bowl LV this weekend, NFL fans may notice a familiar face on a new mural in the city.
As part of a collaboration with Colin Kaepernick's Know Your Rights Camp nonprofit, Ben and Jerry's ice cream company unveiled a mural in Old West Tampa -- a historically Black neighborhood -- on Tuesday dedicated to Kaepernick's social justice fight.
"As we look back, it's clear that Colin was on the right side of history," said Chris Miller, Ben & Jerry's head of global activism, in a statement. "His pre-game protests were before George Floyd's murder; before the 2020 summer of racial reckoning. 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."
The 30-by-90-foot mural features portraits of Tampa youth alongside Know Your Rights Camp staff and was developed in collaboration with artist-activist Brandan "BMike" Odums, KYRC and Ben & Jerry's -- which paid for the mural as part of its collaboration with Kaepernick and his non-profit.
Odums is a friend of Kaepernick and also helped to design an ice cream flavor as part of the collaboration. "Colin Kaepernick's Change the Whirled," which was announced last December, is a caramel-flavored non-dairy frozen dessert with fudge chips, graham cracker swirls, and chocolate cookie swirls, intended to pay tribute to Kaepernick's pursuit of social justice. Kaepernick, who went unsigned after the 2016 season amid controversy over his kneeling during the pre-game national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality, is donating all proceeds from sales of his "Change the Whirled" ice cream to his camp.
The company also installed a billboard in Tampa advertising the new flavor, featuring the former NFL quarterback and current social justice activist with a raised fist and text reading "I KNOW MY RIGHTS." The billboard has also popped up in Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, Atlanta and Baltimore.
Ben & Jerry's, like Kaepernick, is not new to social activism. The company's two co-founders, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, announced a new campaign this week to end qualified immunity, a legal doctrine that can shield law enforcement officers from being liable for misconduct. The Campaign to End Qualified Immunity is supported by thousands of activists, lawmakers, business leaders, artists and athletes including NFL quarterbacks Tom Brady and Drew Brees, according to its website.
Super Bowl LV takes place Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET on CBS. Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs (14-2) will look to win back-to-back Lombardi trophies, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) will try to add a seventh title to Tom Brady's record.