Standing Tall: Colin Kaepernick Is GQ’s 2017 Citizen Of The Year (Video)
In September, the NFL Players Association gave Colin Kaepernick “The Community MVP” award. The gesture came during a season where the former NFC champion is not playing and is not even attached to any team in the league. Today (November 13), those humanitarian efforts are echoed as GQ magazine crowns Colin “Citizen Of The Year.”
Covering their latest issue in an afro and street clothes, not a football uniform, the mag’ writes that #7 agreed to participate in the honor. The editorial staff writes, “[Colin Keapernick] 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. 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. 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?”
With Kaepernick’s participation, GQ assembled 10 people close to the athlete-turned-activist. MC/producer J. Cole, who is a friend and ally of Kap’s, says he attended his debut game years ago. “You’re talking about a guy in his athletic prime, who’s lived his whole life dreaming about playing football at a level that millions of kids dream to get to. And in his first big season, he takes his team to within five yards of winning a Super Bowl. But then, at some point in time, he becomes conscious about what’s happening in the world. And suddenly something that he’s been doing blindly for his whole life—standing for the national anthem—now feels uncomfortable. Why? Because now it feels phony! It feels like, Man, how can I stand for this thing when this country is not holding itself true to the principles it says it stands for? I feel like we’re lying. And look what happens to him. Had he not done that, this guy would be making millions of dollars right now. Period, point blank. And more important than the money, he was living his dream. He sacrificed his dream.”
Harry Belafonte, Ava Duvernay, and Colin’s Niners teammate Eric Reid are other contributors to the honor. This is Colin’s second cover appearance in GQ. Following a rookie phenom performance with the San Francisco 49ers, he debuted on the publication in 2013.
Kaepernick and his legal team have recently filed a grievance that the NFL and its owners colluded to keep him out of football following last season, and the controversies from kneeling during the national anthem.