by Henry Bowers
A year ago, Colin Kaepernick was living out a dream that many people strive for but very few achieve; a starting quarterback in the NFL.
However, since the beginning of last season, Kaepernick has started a movement that has put his lifelong dream at risk. He put his self-interests aside in order to stand up, or take a knee rather, for what he believes is right, and that is why he is GQ’s Citizen of the Year.
Kaepernick had been the man for the San Francisco 49ers since they named him their starting quarterback back when he led them to a Super Bowl appearance in the 2012-2013 season. During that time, Kaepernick was one of the most exciting players in the NFL and had gained many supporters. His ability as a dual-threat quarterback garnered him tons of praise from around the league.Kaepernick’s future in the NFL appeared to be one of great success and prosperity. That is until he risked everything.
Colin Kaepernick started the National Anthem protests at the start of the 2016-2017 season in response to the police brutality toward African-Americans. That inspired Kaepernick to take a knee for the anthem, which is played before every professional sporting event. His goal was to put America in a more honest context. However, no matter how humble and sincere Kaepernick’s intentions appear to be, his critics have been ruthless. He has been accused of disrespecting the flag, as well as fallen service members, and, in turn, it has sparked a nationwide debate that seemingly has no end.
Kaepernick’s actions have obviously gained a lot of media attention, and one could certainly argue that that is the reason why Kaepernick is still searching for a job. NFL owners and general managers have shied away from offering the quarterback any sort of contract despite his talent.
Four years ago, Colin Kaepernick was a young rippling superhero of a quarterback who was on the rise. But a simple act–kneeling for the national anthem–has changed everything. It cost him his job and maybe even the rest of his career. However, it also transformed Colin Kaepernick into a lightning rod and a powerful symbol of activism and resistance. He risked everything for what he thought was right, and that is why he is GQ’s Citizen of the Year.