BY WALTER CANADY III
GQ magazine sparked a lot of conversation with this years’ surprising selection of Citizen of the Year being Colin Kaepernick. The surprising factor is not that Kaepernick has not proven himself to be a notable citizen, but rather that he has done it in what some would call an unorthodox way. This is mainly because of Kaepernick’s peaceful protest against the national anthem that has spread throughout the NFL in the past two years. Some would argue it is the most disrespectful thing to do as a citizen and of course others would say that it is the most American thing to do when you feel something is not going right in this country. The only problem with confronting an issue via peaceful protest is that if you don’t fully support the issue and love the candidate in charge then inevitably you’re going to disagree and not support the protest at all. GQ likened Kaepernick to American other sports icons, including boxer Muhammad Ali, who opposed the Vietnam War. Kaepernick would decline being interviewed by GQ but posed for pictures as well as posted a message on Twitter, saying he was “honored’ by the recognition.
One thing that a lot of us don’t know is how much work he has put in even outside of the national anthem protest. Since being without a job because of his acts, he has participated in many revolutionary deeds.
Kaepernick recently created a campaign called “Know Your Rights”, that according to (kaepernick7.com) “raises awareness on higher education, self empowerment, and instruction to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios”
Not only this, but according to USA Today, Kaepernick has donated over $900,000 (in increments of $100,000) to various organizations that have similar causes and he has set a goal to donate one million. From the looks of it, he is practicing what he is preaching. He is not just protesting to be the face of something or for the attention like many believe, but this man is spending his own money to provide services for those who are systematically oppressed. The thing that makes his deeds so much more exciting and respectable is the fact that he started all of this at a point in his career where he had everything to lose, but nothing necessarily. He has taken his team to the Super Bowl and has been recognized as an elite quarterback in the NFL, and he could have simply sat back and enjoyed the fruits of his labor while all of this injustice was going on. In fact,until he did something about it a lot of other players were doing just that. Kaepernick would be the one that took the risk and initiative to stand behind a cause regardless of the possible outcomes.
More than just a great athlete and team leader, Colin Kaepernick has proven himself to be a fearless, genuine, committed, and inspiring man. A leader to say the least. All the endeavors that he may face will only make his story more revered. And everything positive that will come his way he more than deserves because he has proven himself to be a strong soldier in this battle against inequality and injustice. So, I salute Kaepernick and anyone with the same aspirations. He is definitely the most honorable Citizen of the Year.