"I called my manager. Actually I was on the phone with my manager and I was like `They're destroying the building! They're destroying the building!' So, in my mind immediately I thought about Super Bowl weekend and I was like there's no way this is just a coincidence."
3. Wide of Mercedes-Benz Stadium
4. Mid of Kaepernick mural
5. Wide of Kaepernick mural
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Fabian Williams, artist:
"We immediately started to, like, look for business owners that would allow us to paint pictures of Kaepernick. We were like well how many are we going to do? I'm like seven, since that's his jersey number. And also because seven is a divine number. That's God's number."
7. Mid of Kaepernick mural
8. Mid of Kaepernick mural
9. Tight of mural hashtag
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Fabian Williams, artist:
"That means that Atlanta is a civil rights headquarters and we obviously stand with Kaepernick and his cause. You know what I mean. The same thing he believes in, we believe in."
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Fabian Williams, artist:
"I'm just really glad that other artists stepped up and filled in the gap because I know how I was going to do seven murals when announced it. I didn't have anybody lined up. This was sort of like `I'm going to paint seven murals' you know."
An Atlanta muralist took on the NFL after a controversial piece of art featuring embattled NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick turned to rubble on the eve of the Super Bowl.
Fabian Williams was dismayed and disheartened when he learned that the Kaepernick mural had been destroyed, but he quickly rallied fellow Atlanta artists to create seven Kaepernick murals in its place, spread out across the city that is no stranger to public dissent and civic response.
Kaepernick is a former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who knelt during the national anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality. He hasn't played since 2017.
"We immediately started to, like, look for business owners that would allow us to paint pictures of Kaepernick. We were like, well how many are we going to do. I'm like seven, since that's his jersey number. And also because seven is a divine number. That's God's number," Williams said.
Within hours, several new murals featuring Kaepernick popped up around Atlanta on large, public facing walls. Some of the murals are finished. Others are still be created, Williams said. He wasn't going to let the destruction of an important mural on and important weekend go without a response, using art as his mechanism.
"I don't know whose idea it was, but I feel like at the very least it was just insensitive," Williams said of the Kaepernick mural destruction on the eve of Super Bowl weekend. The mural was up for about two years and survived a fire that ravaged the building months ago.
Now, a cartoonish Kaepernick peers out of the Krog Street tunnel, a popular urban canvas for local artists. Across town behind the Mercedes Benz stadium where the Super Bowl was played, a larger Kaepernick mural overlooks the city, with a radiant glow of gold around his hair.
What do the pop-up Kaepernick murals mean? Why the colorful impromptu effort? Why now?
"It means that Atlanta is the civil rights headquarters and we obviously stand with Kaepernick and his cause. The same things he believes in, we believe in," Williams said.