Colin Kaepernick is GQ’s Citizen of the Year & it seems pretty ‘controversial’

1217 Colin Kaepernick

GQ has released their multiple December covers for their annual “awards.” At some point, GQ stopped doing the typical “men of the year” stuff and decided to give more specific awards to various people for the wider array of good works they did throughout the year. Kevin Durant is the Champion of the Year, Gal Gadot is the Wonder Woman of the Year, Stephen Colbert is the Bad Hombre of the Year and… Colin Kaepernick is the Citizen of the Year. Kaepernick’s profile has been released first – you can see GQ’s package here.

Kaepernick is being recognized for starting a movement and starting a conversation. The movement is tied to Black Lives Matter, police violence against communities of color, the extrajudicial killings of black men and women, the role of athlete-advocates today, the meaning of civil disruption and protest in modern society, freedom of speech, racism and patriotism. Basically, Colin Kaepernick kicked the hornet’s nest. It’s affected him professionally too – dude still doesn’t have a job, because the white football team owners think he’s a “problem” (which is the 2017 version of calling him “uppity”). The GQ profile isn’t so much an interview with Kaepernick (although he agreed to the cover), but a celebration of the conversation that he started. GQ quotes from many different people about what Kaepernick has started.

As I’ve said before, I respect Kaepernick’s work here and the conversations he’s started. I wish he had a job. I wish black men could peacefully protest without being denigrated and insulted by the white supremacist-in-chief. I also wish Colin Kaepernick had f–king voted in the 2016 election.

The Russian bots are so mad about this, by the way. Check out the “Citizen of the Year” tweets here.

1217 Gal Gadot

1217 Kevin Durant

1217 Stephen Colbert

Covers and photos courtesy of Martin Schoeller, Mark Seliger, Cass Bird and Nathaniel Goldberg exclusively GQ.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

65 Responses to “Colin Kaepernick is GQ’s Citizen of the Year & it seems pretty ‘controversial’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. kimbers says:

    I do wish Collin would get signed. he was good at his job. to be honest half the people bishing about the national anthem kneelers are the same people who use the bathroom, grab food or talk during it in their homes and local buffalo wild wings. they aren’t standing up with a hand over their heart.

    • Beth says:

      Yes. Whenever I’m at the stadium for a game, I go get food and use the bathroom during the national anthem. I don’t even know why it’s played at games at all

      • Whoopsy Daisy says:

        It’s quite strange that it’s played in sports games that don’t involve the national team.

      • Lady D says:

        I wouldn’t miss it if they stopped playing the anthems at hockey games. On the other hand, I know all the words to the American anthem now:)

      • Cranberry says:

        I’m not the expert, but I think it’s always been played before game start. But something I did learn recently is that not long ago, maybe five years, the military contracted the NFL for a lot of $ to have players stand up for the anthem in the efforts to increase recruitment. Before this government contract with the NFL owner that get the $, there was no required procedure imposed on any players, and pretty much nobody stood up while it was played.

      • Marley31 says:

        Its called freedom. Of speech people in the football industry should understand that just like people who don’t want to pray shouldn’t have they make a big deal about this than religion which I’m pro freedom of speech each its own etc I believe in God /Jesus Christ but I don’t understand why the football league is getting there panties in a bunch over this its his right and is discriminate against him. I think his peers need to back him up and they need to boycott football because this is ridiculous. I hope he sues anyone and everyone he possible can just because

    • Nick says:

      I don’t care if he stood or kneeled for the anthem but, no he was not doing a “good job”. His passing game was super inconsistent and the other teams defenses had learned how to control his run game. He was throwing interceptions like crazy and had been replaced as a starter by the time he started kneeling for the anthem.

      • D Train says:

        This! Always bugs me when people consider him to be such a high-level QB. He isn’t and was already on his way out well before he started kneeling.

        I hope he can get picked up by another team(I know he was being “recruited” by Seattle earlier this year), and he is really desperate to do so-he recently said he would stand during the anthem throughout the remainder of the 2017-2018 season if he got the chance to suit up again.

      • Elle says:

        YES!! He was not a good quarterback. He had a great defensive line and a great team and coach for that one great year.

      • shlockOftheNEw says:

        Ugh. It’s not about his perceived “performance” as a QB or model or whatever- Kap is a human being w inalienable rights. That’s it.

      • DTrain says:


        I’m confused bY your comment. Can you clarify? If you mean an inalienable right to have a job, I disagree. They don’t actually have to hire him. Should they? Yes, he’s definitely better than some qbs in the league. Was he problematic years ago? Yes, and it had nothing to do with kneeling. Is he that good? No. He had one great season.

      • Nick says:

        I was replying to the OP who said she wished he would be signed because he was “good at his job”. He was not, in fact, good at his job. He was a mediocre QB who lucked out with a good line, great coaching, and a style no one knew how to defend against. They learned and we learned while it’s awesome to have a running quarterback, having one that can throw a pass without it being intercepted is more important.

      • Adele Dazeem says:

        Agree with Nick. His game was unfortunately on the decline prior to the kneeling controversy

      • DTrain says:

        @nick and @adele I am on the same page as you. I was asking @shlock what they meant!

      • Nick says:

        @dtrain that’s who I was replying to as well. I think we responded at the same time.

  2. One more time says:

    I love his cover. Obviously the Russian bots, Trump and his trolls don’t realized this country was established on protest. Boston tea party anyone? The Revolutions and the racist monuments they love so much from the Civil War. But when people of color or minorities do it in 2017 for good sakes there’s a problem. This country is so backwards at time its sad.

  3. Pandora says:

    Its only controversial if you’re a racist POS

    • Des says:


      However, I do wish they’d chosen to call him something other than “Citizen” given that he refused to vote. At a time when that fundamental right of citizenship is being taken away from POC across the USA, it really rubbed me the wrong way to see him do that unapologetically.

      • Renee2 says:

        At first I thought that it was irresponsible of Kaepernick to refrain from voting but upon reflection I have come to believe that his abstaining from participating in the process is consistent with the conditions that he us protesting. I know that HRC was the lesser of two evils of the two candidates and that Trump’s election has unleashed unceasing instances of fresh hell upon us but she did support policy that helped to increase incarceration rates for Black men, which led to the further social and economic undermining of Black communities. Though she has apologized for her past remarks, to my knowledge she did not outline how she would redress/address this. And her engagement with BLM activists was problematic at best.

        TL;DR version: Apart from the above, Kaepernick has helped to redirect attention to the ongoing violence and subjugation of Black people in the US at the expense of his income, and he has donated close to a million dollars to charities while unemployed, so I think that he is deserving of this title from GQ. And it’s just GQ. He’s certainly done more than a lot of us this year.

      • Beth says:

        @Renee2, this wasn’t the first election he didn’t vote in, though. He’s never been registered to vote. I think it’s been great the way he redirects attention and donates his money, but it’s an important responsibility to vote

      • Jessica says:


        There are other things on the ballot besides the presidential nominees; the fact that he proclaims himself an activist and chose not to vote is just plain ignorant.

    • shlockOftheNEw says:

      Ha. True. People true “inner” colors show in the face of this contrived controversy.

    • Snowflake says:


  4. me says:

    I don’t understand the “Wonder Woman of the Year” award…I mean who else would it have been?

    • shlockOftheNEw says:

      I agree. That added stupid to the recipe of awesomeness. Plus why is her stomach showing all unnaturally elongated???

    • tmot says:

      Because a hot chick on the cover sells mags, of course!

      GG is so badass, tho. She just said that she won’t do WW2 if that rat, Ratner is involved. I think that’s a big deal.

      At least it wasn’t the swimsuit issue?

  5. Cynthia says:

    So tired of everything being a controversy.

  6. Kitten says:

    That cover of Kaep is bomb. Gal looks great too.

    Love Kaep and only wish the best for him. I wish the Pats would hire him as backup QB (I think he’d be a good fit!) but that will never happen because Kraft and Belichick.

    • Mermaid says:

      I’m a Packers fan and I wish they would have signed him after Rodgers got hurt. I really admire that Colin and his teammate from the army sat and actually had a discussion and listened to one another. We don’t listen enough in this country. I don’t understand why he didn’t vote though. I hope going forward everyone understands how important it is to vote.

  7. Taxi says:

    I admire Kaepernick for bringing attention to police brutality & harassment of African-Americans in non-verbal, non-confrontational way. I do not think “taking a knee” is insulting or disrespectful to the USA or the flag or the anthem. Raising a fist? Maybe, but in most times & societies not riddled with white supremacists & Tea Party peeps, genuflection is considered a sign of respect or reverence. Medieval knights, renaissance courtiers, recipients of honors bestowed by contemporary royalty, & churchgoing Catholics “take a knee.”
    I wish he had a job even though his last playing season wasn’t his best on the field. He’s a thoughtful guy with an atypical family background.

  8. Carol says:

    Thank you , Colin, for being a great American. The courage you show, standing for your convictions, is inspiring. You are right about our society’s systemic bias and racism towards people of color. Thank you for helping our country tackle these issues. You are a great man.

  9. Renee2 says:

    Why does Gal Godot’s stomach have to be exposed?

    And kudos to Kaepernick. But even before we speak about police brutality, why is any Black person expected to stand for the national anthem?? Doesn’t the third verse support slavery???

    • me says:

      Because women have to show skin at all times. Notice how the men are fully covered.

      • Renee2 says:

        That’s my point exactly ME. Stephen Colbert is wearing a tuxedo for crying out loud, and CK is in a turtleneck with a blazer!!. I know that she is a model and wore a bustier and a miniskirt to play Wonder Woman but covering up her stomach wouldn’t make her any less attractive GQ.

    • Pandy says:

      Was coming here to ask the same question. Skin must be shown if you’re a woman. FFS.

    • HadToChangeMyName says:

      Thank you!

  10. Radley says:

    Love his entire swag right here. I hope he continues to grow, stand strong, do good works (he’s already a part of many charities) and becomes a truly great messenger of the movement. He’s done an important thing. Greatness beyond sports awaits. Go forth and conquer, Kaep.

    Colbert is also a good choice. He’s been consistent in the resistance and I appreciate that. All the southern gentlemen I associate with are like the South Carolinian Colbert. They’re smart, witty, woke and are not haters. Represent.

    Gal Gadot is also a good choice. Beyond the cool movie, she endured being called a Muslim hating Zionist (because she served in the Israeli army which is mandatory) with grace.

    • Wilma says:

      I would not call Gal Gadot a muslim hating zionist, but I do think her support of the IDF during the last Gaza war is problematic as she made a statement that echoed the more extreme side of Israel’s propaganda. There are ways to support both Israel and Palestinians and I don’t think amplifying propaganda helps to bring peace in any way.

      • Renee2 says:

        I am always heartened to read your comments. They are so thoughtful and earnest, and you manage to state your opinions in ways that allow you to remain steadfast in your beliefs and be respectful to others whom you disagree with.

  11. KatC says:

    The reaction of some people to the ‘kneeling controversy’ genuinely turns my stomach. The reality that some of these ‘fans’ will watch people put their lives and health on the line for their entertainment, but won’t accept a peaceful show of patriotism (bc peaceful protest is, will be, and always has been American patriotism in action) is abhorrent to me.

    It genuinely seems to me that they would rather have actual slaves to watch in gladiator battles or something.

    Just…as gross as gross can be.

    Also, there’s literally nothing offensive about someone kneeling during the anthem, it is literally a stance denoting greater respect.

    • Otaku fairy says:

      I agree.

    • Beth says:

      None of my friends or family who were in the service find this peaceful kneeling offensive either. They say that they fought for the country, our freedom, not the flag, and they don’t find this quiet protest offensive at all

  12. Michelle says:

    Kaepernick hasn’t been decent (football-wise) since 2013-14 season. He lost the starting QB position due to his unimpressive performance. In reference to getting a job, the Ravens were looking at him until his girlfriend compared the teams owner to a slave owner in a tweet. He has a business management degree, why not use that to his advantage to get a job and further support his cause? I hate what has happened to him, but he can easily get a job; just may not be the one he wants to do right now.

    • Beth says:

      Completely agree with you about his football performance. I’m a football fan, and know he wasn’t that great, didn’t play for a very good team, and was just a backup, not a star player. It is awful if peaceful kneeling is what ruined his career, and I hope it doesn’t keep him from getting any job he’s qualified for

      • Eveil says:

        Lets not pretend that the only reason why he didn’t get signed on is because of his performance. Worst players have been signed onto teams instead of Kaep so let’s keep the bs excuses down ok?

      • Beth says:

        Nobody said that was the only reason, because it’s definitely not. Facts about his football performance aren’t bs excuses. Okay?

      • Michelle says:

        Not bs excuses Eveil. In 2014, he was fined for inappropriate language and also fined for some headphones at a press conference. In 2015, he lost the starting job because he did not perform well and also was out for shoulder surgery. In 2016, he was given a second chance at starting QB, but sucked and he lost his starting job AGAIN. Like it or not, facts are facts. He wasn’t getting the job done, so they found someone else.

      • Izzy says:

        I’m with Eveil on this one. The Dolphins could have had Kap, instead they signed… Jay Cutler!! Huh? I haven’t stopped laughing since. (Then again, I may live in Florida, but I’m not a Dolphins fan.)

      • Beth says:

        @Izzy, I was in Miami last year and went to the Dolphins/49ers game. I didn’t understand why so many were booing, but it ended up being because Kaepernick had recently worn a shirt with Fidel Castro on it. I have no problem with someone sitting, kneeling, or standing during the anthem, but the people of Miami seemed pretty offended by that shirt

      • shlockOftheNEw says:

        Yo troll. What’s up.

      • Eveil says:

        And yet wife beaters are allowed to remain on their teams. Why? Because they play a better game despite smashing in their wive’s faces?

        Let’s not pretend that Kaep’s Biggest Failing as a player is the fact that he chooses to exercise his first amendment rights and that it riles up their white fans.

        The two of you sitting here and trying to pretend that his activism isn’t a big reason why he’s unwanted is bs. If he’d kept his head down and not created any waves, are you two still so sure that he wouldn’t have been signed on?

        Also, black people have the right to vote or not vote, just like all of us. Personally, I’m not offended that Kaep didn’t vote – he probably felt like there was no good choice between Hilary and DT. I voted for Hilary but I didn’t enjoy voting for her as a POC. I’m happy that Kaep has been using his platform for other Black voices.

  13. Cat'sMeow says:

    Of course, Gal has to be photographed with her stomach showing.

  14. sza says:

    I support all Americans exercising their right to peacefully protest.

  15. Louise177 says:

    The funny thing is that kneeling didn’t become a big deal until Trump and Fox News made it one. I think at most a dozen players did it at the beginning of the season. Then Trump threw one of his tirades other players did it to support Colin and free speech. Another thing is the anthem is almost never televised. I only see during playoffs. Which is why it baffled me when people say they won’t watch games because of kneeling. They wouldn’t see it anyway.

  16. Nev says:

    Yayyyy support you Colin!!!!

  17. Cranberry says:

    If these team owners really cared about setting the record straight and not letting in just fall on Kaepernick, they would jointly issue a statement acknowledging “their concern” of the high # of disproportionate police killings of black men in the country and how this directly affects their players.

    They should, at very least, show they support their players enough to name the issue and not let it get hijacked especially if they don’t want discord among all black players across the league. You’d think this would be in their best interest since these players are who they depend on. If they think this issue is just going to go away with Kaepernick as they do nothing, it will probably get worse. It would be nice if they would also chastise Trump for politicizing the issue, but that would be asking too much from these cowards.

  18. Elle says:

    Voting is a citizen’s responsibility.

    It is not just about him.

    Many people fought long and hard (and risked and lost their lives) to be allowed to vote in this country. That ability is always at risk. Everyone committed to equality must vote to insure that the vote is protected for others in the present and the future.

  19. maryquitecontrary says:

    All of us NEED to vote. It is our voice.

    As a Gold Star Daughter, I am incensed that Colin Kaepernick’s choice to kneel again the institutionalized racism and systematic police profiling and brutality and yes, MURDER, that black Americans have endured historically, endure every day…has been turned into a referendum for the Anthem and Flag and Country. He chose to kneel as a symbolic free right to protest blatant racism in this country. He chose to bring his position as a successful black man in American society to bring light on an issue and a system that is KILLING people.

    And the misdirected wingnuts out there turned it into Flag and Country and the sacrifice of the honored dead.

    Such bullshit. My dad served and died for Flag and Country. And for the People’s right to kneel because that’s what American Flag and Country is about. But the wingnuts out there that have never sacrificed anything can’t understand that.

    Damn. Just pisses me off, especially when they start talking about the sacrifice of the honored dead and All Lives Matter. They are All. So. Outraged.

    Have another piece of pie, folks.

    And why you are at it, sit down. Use your ears. Nothing good ever came from talking so much that you forget how to listen.

    Good choice, GQ. I support your choice.

  20. Jag says:

    Someone please tell me why Gal Gadot is the only cover with skin showing? Why does she have to be in a cropped top, while the men are fully covered, even with one wearing a suit? Ugh!

  21. Marta says:

    I don’t get it… he donated $25,000 to a group that honors cop killers and he’s named Citizen of the Year! What am I missing here?

  22. Carey says:

    He makes millions of dollars and wouldn’t in any other country. So over him.

  23. DAWN says:

    To all complaining about his cover, we don’t care. You valuing symbolism more than human lives speaks volumes.

    Also, quick history tip: Aboriginal (Black people-look them up)/Native Americans are the only Americans. Anyone else is the deecendant of enslaved, colonizers or chain migrationers. You can’t claim legally what was never yours. You’re on stolen land.

    When you enter the immigration system, you literally begin to feed into a false indoctrination and sense of pride/patriotism into a nation and history that they no little to nothing about and is not being told by those who were raped, murdered and pillaged. Those who colonize write the histories.

    Why do you think Americans (Aboroginals/Natives) don’t do the overt flag waving sh*t?!?

    Because what is understood, goes without saying.

    Kudos to Colin.