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GQ names controversial QB Colin Kaepernick ’Citizen of the Year’

GQ magazine has named Colin Kaepernick as its “Citizen of the Year.”

“He’s been vilified by millions and locked out of the NFL—all because he took a knee to protest police brutality,” GQ said.  “But Colin Kaepernick’s determined stand puts him in rare company in sports history: Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson—athletes who risked everything to make a difference.”

The free-agent quarterback has been embroiled in controversy since he started to protest police brutality of the African Americans by kneeling during the national anthem while a member of the San Francisco 49ers during the 2016 season.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. | Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

His kneeling became a flashpoint and started a movement among NFL players and other athletes. But Kaepernick has become a lightning rod for controversy as critics claim his actions have disrepected the flag.

He opted out of his 49ers contract in 2017 and has remained an unsigned free agent this season. He has accused the NFL owners of colluding to keep him out of the league.

Kaepernick tweeted his was “honored to be recognized by @GQMagazine as Citizen of the Year.”

He has been mostly silent in the media but told the magazine he wanted to participate to “reclaim the narrative” of his protest.

Kaepernick helped assemble a group of 10 friends and supporters, including rapper J.Cole, director Ava DuVernay, 90-year-old singer and activist Harry Belafonte, and Women’s March co-organizer Linda Sarsour, to speak on activism, protest and equality. He never is directly quoted in the article, but GQ uses photography that evokes Muhammad Ali’s anti-Vietnam War protests.