What Colin Kaepernick Winning GQ’s ‘Citizen Of The Year’ Means to a Black Man
One of the biggest things I love about being an American citizen is the opportunity for somebody to challenge the culture and conscience of this nation. Even if it is divisive, it is the fabric of our many personalities which causes us to have open dialogue and learn more about one another and becoming a unified nation.
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I was very excited to learn from WFAA that former San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick was recognized by GQ Magazine as Citizen of The Year. Kaepernick has been at the center of the NFL controversy since last year when he took a knee during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality. His actions have sparked attention as other NFL players and beyond followed suit. It even got President Trump involved, criticizing his actions on the protest.
According to ESPN, Kaep has agreed to participate in the project with GQ because he wanted to reclaim the purpose of his protest. He's been speaking when necessary and using silence as a necessary ally. However, he did tweet he was honored to be recognized by GQ magazine.
My grandfather once told me “If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.” Since Colin hasn’t been signed since March, he has shifted from football star to activist and essentially sacrificed his NFL career to raise awareness about racial inequality and police brutality.
I recently read an article in the New Yorker called Recalling Muhammad Ali's Vietnam War Resistance in the Age of Trump and I was trying to find out the difference between Colin's protest of the national anthem vs. Ali's protest of the Vietnam draft - it was very similar and this was almost half a century ago!
Due to Ali's refusal to fight in Vietnam for his religious beliefs he was stripped of his title, they denied him to fight in the United States and denied him a visa to fight anywhere else. Now eventually he was reinstated and today is recognized as "The Greatest of All Time". Only time will tell if Kaepernick will be back in the NFL and whether you agree with his protest or not, he is definitely creating a dialogue for people to address the issues that plague African Americans.
The issue will be released in the December 2017 issue of GQ.