GQ magazine has named former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick its “Citizen of the Year” amid ongoing controversy surrounding players kneeling during the national anthem.
Referring to Kaepernick as “the man who became a movement,” GQ said the former quarterback has been “blackballed” for his protests against police brutality.
“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,” GQ wrote.
The magazine compared Kaepernick’s protest to Muhammad Ali’s stand against the Vietnam War.
Kaepernick started his protest last year, becoming the first NFL player to take a knee during the national anthem before kickoff.
President Trump pushed the controversy back into the forefront in September when, during a campaign rally, he called for players who kneeled to be fired.
Trump continued the feud for weeks, often taking to Twitter to sound off on the matter.