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colin kaepernick fist raised GQ citizen of the year

Colin Kaepernick was made 'Citizen of the Year' by GQ Magazine

Colin Kaepernick has become extremely famous for a very simple act. Taking a knee during the national anthem last year, the 49ers quarterback has become a center of America's debate on police brutality, protest, and racial justice. He has been talked about and debated for far longer than anyone, especially himself, thought he would be.

As the football protests have reached a fever pitch this year, with President Trump criticizing players taking a knee, Kaepernick has once again been thrust into the national spotlight. With all this attention, GQ ran a cover story featuring Kaepernick, and bestowed him with the title of 'Citizen of the Year'.

Numerous famous voices were quoted on the story to discuss Kaepernick, who himself gave no quotations for the magazine. Rapper J. Cole was quoted in the GQ story, speaking glowingly about Kaepernick:

"You're talking about a guy in his athletic prime, who's lived his whole life dreaming about playing football at a level that millions of kids dream to get to. And in his first big season, he takes his team to within five yards of winning a Super Bowl. But then, at some point in time, he becomes conscious about what's happening in the world. And suddenly something that he's been doing blindly for his whole life—standing for the national anthem—now feels uncomfortable. Why? Because now it feels phony! It feels like, Man, how can I stand for this thing when this country is not holding itself true to the principles it says it stands for? I feel like we're lying. And look what happens to him. Had he not done that, this guy would be making millions of dollars right now. Period, point blank. And more important than the money, he was living his dream. He sacrificed his dream."

Ava DuVernay, the filmmaker behind both Selma and 13th, said:

"I see what he's done as art. I believe that art is seeing the world that doesn't exist. A lot of people excel at creativity—making TV, movies, painting, writing books—but you can be an artist in your own life. Civil rights activists are artists. Athletes are artists. People who imagine something that is not there. I think some folks see his protests, his resistance, as not his work. Not intentional. Not strategic. Not as progressive action. As if this was just a moment that he got caught up in. This was work. This is work that he's doing."

colin kaepernick knee GQ cover Credit: Getty

Back in August of 2016, Kaepernick said:

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

He stood up for what he believed in, and used his freedom of speech to advance his causes. What do you think of the cover? Is he the best candidate for 'Citizen of the Year'?

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