Kaepernick's rookie NFL jersey could fetch $100,000 at auction

Kaepernick's rookie NFL jersey could fetch $100,000 at auction

LOS ANGELES, Sept 17 (Reuters) - The white number seven jersey worn by U.S. National Football League (NFL) star Colin Kaepernick on his debut with the San Francisco 49ers could fetch $100,000 when it goes up for auction in December.

Julien's Auctions said on Thursday that the jersey, which is signed by Kaepernick, was worn by the quarterback on Oct. 2, 2011, when he entered the 49ers' game against the Philadelphia Eagles in the first quarter. The seller wishes to remain anonymous.

Kaepernick, 32, has since become one of the most prominent and controversial sports figures in the United States.

His decision in 2016 to kneel during the playing of the national anthem in order to put a spotlight on police brutality helped inspire the Black Lives Matter movement. Critics said he was disrespecting the United States and its flag.

Kaepernick has gone unsigned since the 2016 season, although the NFL in June changed course on its previous opposition to his and others' kneeling protests, saying it made mistakes in not listening to its players.

"He's a cultural icon. He's up there now with Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson - somebody that's using their fame to make a peaceful, powerful statement to highlight and bring attention to inequalities," Martin Nolan, executive director of Julien's Auctions, told Reuters.

The player's white jersey with red lettering has the number seven on the back and front and the name Kaepernick across the back shoulders. Kaepernick signed his name on the back.

The $100,000 pre-sale estimate is a conservative figure and the jersey could sell for a much higher price, Nolan said.

It will go up for auction in Beverly Hills on Dec. 4, along with some 500 other sports items, including apparel owned by basketball players Michael Jordan and the late Kobe Bryant. (Reporting by Jill Serjeant and Norma Galeana, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)