Colin Kaepernick’s NFL career remains on hold, but he’s still being recognized for the movement he started on the field.
The free agent quarterback was named GQ’s “Citizen of the Year” on Monday morning, as the men’s fashion magazine published a feature about the movement he started by deciding to kneel during the national anthem at NFL games.
Kaepernick acknowledged the honor on Twitter.
According to GQ, Kaepernick agreed to participate in the feature to “reclaim the narrative” of his protest, which began in 2016 when he sat during the national anthem before a San Francisco 49ers preseason game. But the story — titled “Colin Kaepernick Will Not Be Silenced” — actually doesn’t include any quotes from Kaepernick, who told GQ he “intended to remain silent” about his ongoing protest of oppression and police brutality against black people.
“As his public identity has begun to shift from football star to embattled activist, he has grown wise to the power of his silence,” GQ wrote of Kaepernick in its feature. “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?”
The feature focuses instead on the voices of Kaepernick’s close supporters, which include rapper J. Cole and his former Niners teammate, Eric Reid, who told GQ he believes Kaepernick is being “blackballed” by the NFL.
“The next step is to get Colin back in the NFL,” Reid said in an interview. “Because he’s the one that started this. I think we’re finally getting where me and Colin envision this going. Now it’s time for him to get back in the league.”
Kaepernick filed a grievance last month against the NFL accusing its owners of collusion and remains unsigned.
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