Colin Kaepernick named GQ’s Citizen of the Year
Feature photo obtained from GQ.
Former ESPY’s 2013 Best Breakthrough Athlete and San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, makes headlines again this time, but only for a different reason. Kaepernick becomes GQ’s 2017 Citizen of the Year for his determination and powerful kneel for what he believes in.
The last time Kaepernick was on the cover of GQ was in 2013 for being one of the best football players in the world, but the tables are now turned, and this 2017 cover deems more importance to GQ.
Kaepernick began his protest against police brutality by sitting on the bench during preseason games in mid August. On Sept. 1, 2016 Keapernick took his first knee during the national anthem. According to SBNation, Kaepernick said of his protest, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color."
After kneeling during the anthem, his protest began a worldwide phenomenon. Kaepernick began his protest alone, but as the season went on several other NFL players joined him, along with collegiate and high school teams. Kaepernick said in the SBNation article, “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder." Since then, there has been a wave of support from different players in the NFl including, Jeremy Lane from the Seahawks and renowned soccer player, Megan Rapinoe.
Football players and sports teams aren’t the only people supporting Kaepernick in his journey. According to GQ , ten influential people stand with Kaepernick and his decisions. Amongst the ten is platinum rapper J. Cole who said in the article “You’re talking about a guy in his athletic prime, who’s lived his whole life dreaming about playing football at the level that millions of kids dream to get to… but then at some point in time, he becomes conscious about what’s happening in the world.” Legendary activist Herry Belafonte believes that Kaepernick is a remarkable man and is prepared to do anything to support him, and former teammate Eric Reid is trying to get Kaepernick’s narrative “back on track.”
On April 28, 1967, a similar protest was happening with boxing’s Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. Muhammad refused to the call of joining the military during the Vietnam War. Just like Kaepernick, he decided to protest against the brutality and injustice African Americans were receiving. Muhammad said, “If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to twenty-two millions of my people, they wouldn’t have to draft me…. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. We’ve been in jail for four hundred years.”.
Although Kaepernick was one of the best quarterbacks in the league, the NFL is still blackballing him for something that he valued the most. As of now, there are still no teams wanting to sign Kaepernick, but he just landed a multi-million dollar book deal on his journey and is working on a lawsuit against the NFL for collusion.