Colin Kaepernick Named ‘Citizen of the Year’ While JAY-Z Tells Black Folks to Get it Together 

"Mr. Kaepernick, who needs no introduction, is this generation's iconic civil rights leader"

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2014

Colin Kaepernick has been named “Citizen of the Year” by GQ magazine. The former San Francisco 49er landed the cover of GQ’s latest issue for protesting racial injustice by kneeling for the national anthem during NFL games. Since then, he’s angered everyone from the common Twitter user to Donald Trump, who’s called him out on social media, television and at a rally. 

It also seems that Kaepernick has been blackballed by the league and its owners for protesting. He filed a grievance against the NFL and accused them of collusion. 

He continues to remain silent and chose not to be interviewed for the GQ article.  He agreed to a photo shoot in Harlem, N.Y. where he posed with local adults and children.

On top of that, some of Kaepernick’s friends, allies and general admirers gave statements for the article. Folks like J. Cole, Ava DuVernay, former teammate Eric Reid and Harry Belafonte, who said he’d help the quarterback however he could.

“In my 90th year of life, to see people like Colin Kaepernick having gotten the message and carrying the cause forward is the greatest reward I could ask for,” said Belafonte. “Colin is a remarkable young man. The fact that he spoke out on police brutality against young black men, I thought it was absolutely admirable. I’m prepared to do anything it takes and whatever steps I can to support him if this insanity continues.”

DuVernay — who also praised Kaepernick — said she had dinner with him and his mate Nessa just one night after Trump called him out during a rally in Alabama. She also said that his “stillness and wisdom” took her aback considering all of the scrutiny he faces. “Look at this brother,” she said. “He’s doing better than any of us would’ve done. A lot better. With a lot more elegance.”


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Cole, meanwhile, said Kaepernick’s level of altruism should always be etched in our minds since he sacrificed a lifetime of hard work and dreams to get to the pros.

“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,” said the rapper. “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. It feels like, ‘Man, how can I stand for this thing when this country is not holding itself true to the principles it says it stands for? I feel like we’re lying.’” 

At this time, there’s no word when Kaepernick’s grievance case will begin. But according to ESPN, several NFL owners have been called for depositions and asked to hand over their email and cell phone records. Owners such as Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones, New England Patriots Robert Kraft and Houston Texans Bob McNair all have been called.

In addition, ABC News reports that the owners were chosen for depositions based on public statements they made about the quarterback in the past. 

“But regardless of what happens with the grievance, Kaepernick’s days of playing in the NFL are over, and he’ll continue to fight for injustice,” said John Carlos, who famously raised his fist in protest with Tommie Smith at the 1968 Olympics.

“Mr. Kaepernick, who needs no introduction, is this generation’s iconic civil rights leader,” Carlos told TMZ. “Through his commitment and sacrifice to speak about the awareness of police brutality against blacks in America, Kaepernick has cemented his status in my books as one of many great individuals whose name will be spoken alongside the likes of Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, Dr. Tommie Smith, Peter Norman and myself.”

Although JAY-Z didn’t mention Kaepernick specifically during a recent “4:44” tour stop in Miami, he touched on the NFL protests and those players speaking out in other sports. 

“I want ya’ll to understand, when people are kneeling and putting their fist up, it’s not about a flag,” said JAY to the crowd. “It’s about justice, and that’s not a black or white thing that’s a human issue. Everybody should feel the same way. If your 16-year-old child left the house and didn’t come back, everyone should be affected … That’s a young person who lost their life senselessly.”

JAY then addressed the black folks in the audience and like on his “4:44” album, spoke of ownership and not letting others dictate your financial future. He also said that Black people could do a far better job of sticking together.

“Black people in particular, we gotta get our sh– together,” he stated. “We gotta start bossing up. We gotta start working with each other. We can’t be hired help. We’re not second-class citizens to anybody.”

We reached out to the law firm Geragos & Geragos that’s handling Kaepernick’s case to get updates and question whether they think he’ll return to the NFL. But they chose not to respond or give any further information at this time.

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