Citizen of the Year

2017 Citizen of the Year

Much has changed in the four years since Colin Kaepernick was last on the cover of GQ. Back then he was a rippling superhero of a quarterback on the rise. But a simple act—kneeling during the national anthem—changed everything. It cost him his job. It also transformed Colin Kaepernick into a lightning rod and a powerful symbol of activism and resistance.

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 And yet he has been locked out of the game he loves—blackballed—because of one simple gesture: He knelt during the playing of our national anthem. And he did it for a clear reason, one that has been lost in the yearlong storm that followed. He did it to protest systemic oppression and, more specifically, as he said repeatedly at the time, police brutality toward black people.

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. 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?

At the same time, Colin is all too aware that silence creates a vacuum, and that if it doesn’t get filled somehow, someone else will fill it for him.


Continue reading at: Colin Kaepernick Will Not Be Silenced | GQ
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