It’s been a rocky ride for Colin Kaepernick: he’s remains unsigned, he receives death threats
and he’s currently in the midst of a complicated lawsuit
against the NFL. But at least some things are going his way: this week it was announced that the former 49ers quarterback had been named
GQ Magazine’s “Citizen of the Year
In case you forgot — In August of 2016
, the story was fresh: a quarterback in San Francisco was refusing to stand during the national anthem. He claimed that kneeling was his way to “stand with the people that are being oppressed” and, hopefully, confront the racism that’s “gone on in this country for years and years and have never been addressed”. It seemed like a minor story, but a year later, you’d be hard-pressed to find a person who hadn’t heard about the anthem protests.
His actions had big reactions: Inspired athletes joined him
in his protests and angry fans made shirts
that said things like: “Shut up and Stand up, Kaeper-dick!”
At the age of only 30, he had found himself in the unique position of being both supported
by sitting Presidents of the United States. Whether you’re a fan or not, it’s impossible to say the man hadn’t been incredibly influential.
In their piece, GQ
“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. 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…”
So, instead of another interview with Kaepernick, GQ published statements from a collection of activists, scholars and celebrities, including: Tamika Mallory, J. Cole and Harry Belafonte.
It was Belafonte who most clearly explained why the QB had so captured the nation’s imagination. He told GQ simply: “After all the courageous things that have been done by so many courageous people, it’s a cop-out to not speak up.”
And, even without speaking, Colin’s is one of the loudest voices. That’s why we’re glad he’s finally getting some positive recognition. Congratulations, #7!