On Monday, former 49ers quarterback, and current NFL free agent, Colin Kaepernick was named GQ’s magazine’s ‘Citizen of the Year.’
Kaepernick gained fame in the social justice realm for being the catalyst behind the NFL national anthem protests that have plagued the NFL the past two years. Kaepernick launched the protests by refusing to stand during the playing of the national anthem before an NFL game in 2016. Kaepernick claimed the string of videos of black men being shot by cops spurred his action.
“When we began discussing this GQ cover with Colin earlier this fall, he told us the reason he wanted to participate is that he wants to reclaim the narrative of his protest, which has been hijacked by a president eager to make this moment about himself,” the article says.
Compared to Ali
In the magazine’s article, entitled “Colin Kaepernick Will Not Be Silenced,” the current free agent quarterback is compared to former boxing great, the late Muhammad Ali. The comparison focuses on Ali’s refusal to be drafted into the US Army’s war in Vietnam. That decision led to a three-year layoff in his professional career.
For the article, GQ photographer chose to take pictures of Kaepernick in Harlem. The famously predominant African-American section of New York City is symbolic. GQ sought Harlem because it is where Ali visited regularly, “among the men, women, and children he is fighting for…to connect him to a crusade that stretches back decades.”
“But Colin also made it clear to us that he intended to remain silent. As his public identity has begun to shift from football star to embattled activist, he has grown wise to the power of his silence,” says the article.
While Kaepernick remained silent for the article, his allies did not. Kaepernick’s article includes statements from 10 of his closest confidants, including rapper J. Cole, former 49ers teammate Eric Reid, filmmaker Ava DuVernay, and activist Harry Belafonte.
Silence is Golden
Kaepernick’s silence was motivational fodder for the article. “It has helped his story go around the world. It has even provoked the ire and ill temper of Donald Trump. Why talk now, when your detractors will only twist your words and use them against you? Why speak now, when silence has done so much?” the GQ article says.
In addition to Kaepernick, late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert, Warriors star Kevin Durant, and actress Gal Gadot are among the other celebrities recognized in GQ’s “Men (and Woman) of the Year” issue.
Gadot has proactively taken a stand against the ongoing sexual misconduct allegations flowing out of Hollywood. Colbert has routinely criticized Trump for his program.
Do you think Colin Kaepernick deserves the title ‘citizen of the year?’ Tell us in the comments!