Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

GQ names Colin Kaepernick 'Citizen of the Year' and compares him to Jackie Robinson and Muhammad Ali

Alex Reimer
November 13, 2017 - 10:58 am

Colin Kaepernick remains one of the most polarizing individuals in the country, even though he hasn’t appeared in an NFL game in almost one year. The President and his supporters routinely bludgeon Kaepernick for starting the kneeling movement, a protest that was originally designed to draw awareness towards police brutality in black communities. 

Despite the abundance of injuries to quarterbacks across the NFL, Kaepernick still can’t get a job. Last month, he announced he’s suing the league for collusion. 

It’s human nature to speak out and defend oneself when attacked. But Kaepernick has remained silent, denying all interview requests. For that, and the movement he’s created, GQ Magazine named Kaepernick its “Citizen of the Year” Monday.

In the feature story, GQ editors speak with 10 of Kaepernick’s closest confidants, including activists, academics and former 49ers teammate Eric Reid, who continues to kneel during the national anthem today. Kaepernick is compared to Muhammad Ali for the stand he’s taking, and the price he’s paid for it. 

“By the end of the 1960s, Muhammad Ali's stand against the Vietnam War—he'd marched in Harlem with the Nation of Islam after he was drafted and refused to serve—resulted in him being locked out of his sport for three years, at the peak of his talent, much as Colin is now,” GQ writes.

The story presents Kaepernick as a continuation of Jackie Robinson, Ali and other black athletes who have used professional sports as a springboard to represent their communities. When kneeling during the anthem, Kaepernick was speaking for the voiceless. And now, even though he hasn’t spoken all year long, Kaepernick’s influence is perhaps stronger than ever. 

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