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Colin Kaepernick Named GQ's 'Citizen of the Year'

Colin Kaepernick's GQ cover. (GQ)

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick still does not have an NFL job, but the man who started the “Take a Knee” protest remains a force for good off the football field. GQ named Kaepernick one of its 2017 “Men of the Year,” and he will appear on an upcoming cover of the magazine with the caption, “Citizen of the Year.”

In 2016, Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem—instead of standing—to raise awareness of police brutality and social injustice. Since then, that simple act has grown into a movement and gotten Kaepernick blackballed by the league (he filed a collusion grievance against team owners in October).

Now, GQ is recognizing Kaepernick for being “a lightning rod and powerful symbol of activism and resistance“:

Though Colin Kaepernick continues his silent protest, he agreed to collaborate with GQ on a special project for our December Men of the Year issue in an effort to, as the piece explains, “reclaim the narrative of his protest.” He helped us assemble a ten-person team of his closest confidants—including rapper J.Cole, director Ava DuVernay, activist Harry Belafonte, and Women’s March co-organizer Linda Sarsour—to speak on the subjects of activism, protest, and equality, and to offer some rare insights into Colin Kaepernick himself.

Paired with the piece are inspiring images by Martin Schoeller, who photographed Kaepernick in Harlem, intending to evoke the spirit of Muhammad Ali’s anti-Vietnam War protests in the neighborhood during the late 60s.

Kaepernick has proved his social justice work is not for show, backing up his action with money. He started Know Your Rights camps, “a free campaign for youth fully funded by Colin Kaepernick to raise awareness on higher education, self empowerment, and instruction to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios.”

The camp features 10 points:

1. You have the right to be free.

2. You have the right to be healthy.

3. You have the right to be brilliant.

4. You have the right to be safe.

5. You have the right to be loved.

6. You have the right to be courageous.

7. You have the right to be be alive.

8. You the right to be trusted.

9. You have the right to be educated.

10. You have the right to know your rights.

Along with Kaepernick, GQ is celebrating late-night TV host Stephen Colbert (“Bad Hombre of the Year”), actress Gal Gadot (“Wonder Woman of the Year”) and Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (“Champion of the Year”).

GQ’s cover story on Kaepernick is titled “Colin Kaepernick Will Not Be Silenced.”

Kaepernick also has a book in the works. Last month, he inked a $1 million deal with Random House imprint One World.

Eric Ortiz
Managing Editor
Eric Ortiz is the managing editor of Truthdig. A journalist and innovator with two decades in digital media, Ortiz founded the mobile app startup Evrybit, a live storytelling and reporting tool, as a 2014 John…
Eric Ortiz

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