Colin Kaepernick may be a NFL exile, but the dialogue he's sparked in addressing America's deep-rooted system of racial inequality is proving to outweigh the benefits of a star-studded career.
The former quarterback can now add being named GQ's "Man of the Year" to his commendable resume of achievements.
In the lofty December issue, the 30-year-old travels to Harlem in the captivating editorial spread to bring a new sense of life and energy to his national protest. While he opts out of giving GQ any actual sound bites, several of his peers and mentors (including the likes of Ava DuVernay and Harry Belafonte) speak on his behalf. Notably, the press-averse J. Cole praises Kaep for his commitment to the fight for equality.
Similar to the free agent, Cole has been very vocal about police brutality and even previously expressed his support for Kaep in a stirring Twitter thread. Within GQ's pages, the “No Role Modelz” rapper elaborated on the latter by shedding light on the many sacrifices the former 49ers' quarterback has made. "You're talking about a guy in his athletic prime, who's lived his whole life dreaming about playing football at a level that millions of kids dream to get to. And in his first big season, he takes his team to within five yards of winning a Super Bowl. But then, at some point in time, he becomes conscious about what's happening in the world," Cole began his lengthy statement.
"And suddenly something that he's been doing blindly for his whole life — standing for the national anthem — now feels uncomfortable. Why? Because now it feels phony!" he continued. And look what happens to him. Had he not done that, this guy would be making millions of dollars right now."
"Period, point blank. And more important than the money, he was living his dream. He sacrificed his dream."
Take a look at Colin Kaepernick on the cover of GQ, below.
(Photo from left: Harry How/Getty Images, Isaac Brekken/WireImage)