Colin Kaepernick has been named "Citizen of the Year" by GQ magazine, which published a feature story on Monday about the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback and his emergence as a polarizing figure since his decision to protest during the national anthem.
Kaepernick is not quoted in the story, titled "Colin Kaepernick Will Not Be Silenced." GQ states in the story that Kaepernick, who has rarely spoken publicly since becoming a free agent earlier this year, has "grown wise to the power of his silence."
— GQ Magazine (@GQMagazine) November 13, 2017
GQ also writes that Kaepernick agreed to participate in its project because "he wants to reclaim the narrative of his protest." The majority of the story consists of perspectives from people that GQ describes as Kaepernick's "closest confidants."
"Colin also made it clear to us that he intended to remain silent," GQ states in the story. "As his public identity has begun to shift from football star to embattled activist, he has grown wise to the power of his silence. It has helped his story go around the world. It has even provoked the ire and ill temper of Donald Trump."
Kaepernick tweeted Monday morning that he was "honored" to be recognized by GQ.
Niners linebacker Eric Reid, who joined Kaepernick last year in his protest and has continued to kneel during the national anthem this season, was one of the individuals who spoke to GQ about his former teammate.
"My goal this year has been to get the narrative back on track," Reid said. "We started having communications with the NFL, and they said they're going to help us make progress on these issues. But the next step is to get Colin back in the NFL. Because he's the one that started this. I think we're finally getting where me and Colin envision this going. Now it's time for him to get back in the league."
GQ also published multiple recent photos of Kaepernick posing with people from Harlem, stating its hope to "connect him to a crusade that stretches back decades."
Kaepernick, who led San Francisco to consecutive NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl appearance, has remained unsigned since opting out of his contract with the 49ers in March. He filed a grievance last month that NFL owners colluded against him because of the protests, which are aimed at raising awareness of police brutality against African-Americans and other issues.
Kevin Durant was named GQ's "Champion of the Year" after leading the Golden State Warriors to the NBA championship and, like Kaepernick, is featured on the cover of some copies of the issue.
On Monday at the Warriors shootaround, Durant talked about how he admired what the quarterback had accomplished.
"Kaepernick is just a guy that stands up for what he believes in, standing up for people that don't really have a voice," Durant said. "It was a tremendous honor to be on a cover with him, somebody that, his words have started a conversation that's needed in this country and his actions that started conversations, so his honor is a blessing and I'm definitely grateful to be on the cover and to be ... with some amazing people.
"He knew he'd take a lot of heat for what he did, and he stood up for the people that can't stand up for themselves. As an athlete, we're taught to kind of shut up and play our sport. He put everything on the line, and you got to respect it. We all respect it and we all stand behind him and support him as athletes, and he makes us proud to be a part of the athletic community."