GQ magazine certainly isn’t shying away from attention with the cover for its 2017 Men of the Year issue. Colin Kaepernick will be the face on the cover of the publication’s December issue, a provocative choice that is sure to generate a sizable amount of controversy.

Those who prefer a cover without Kaepernick can potentially choose the other covers produced for GQ’s Men (and Women) of the Year issue, which include Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant, late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert and Gal Gadot, now known throughout the world as Wonder Woman. Which cover subscribers might receive in the mail is a toss-up, of course.

Considering he’s a quarterback who hasn’t played in an NFL game for nearly a year, Kaepernick might be a curious choice for a Man of the Year and cover photo. But it certainly can’t be argued that he hasn’t made an impact in the culture during that time. The former San Francisco 49ers star started a movement among his NFL peers and fellow athletes by being the first player to kneel during the national anthem. Kaepernick intended the gesture as a protest against social injustice, particularly police brutality against black people in this country. Many have taken offense to the protest, however, perceiving it as a slight against the national anthem, American flag and military.

Here’s a look at the cover photo of Kaepernick:

The GQ editors explained in their announcement of Kaepernick being named “Citizen of the Year” that he will also team with the magazine on a project intended to “reclaim the narrative of his protest,” which has been hijacked by many who have misinterpreted and spread misinformation about his message, including the current President of the United States.

As the cover story details, Kaepernick and GQ have assembled a 10-person team with a variety of figures such as former 49ers teammate Eric Reid, director Ava DuVernay, activist Harry Belafonte and rapper J. Cole to express their views on equality, protest and activism. The feature also includes several photos of Kaepernick by Martin Scholler that are meant to capture the spirit of Muhammad Ali’s protests against the Vietnam War during the 1960s.

Kaepernick’s initial protest has taken on additional life throughout the NFL, causing a great deal of anxiety and anger among league officials and team owners as fan support and TV ratings have arguably been affected. The protest has also spread to other professional and amateur sports, and even in civic gatherings such as city council meetings with people going down to one knee during the national anthem to demonstrate against social injustice.

Whether you agree with the movement Kaepernick started or not, it can’t be argued that he’s made an impact and started a national conversation. Sure, GQ is trying to sell magazines with a cover choice that’s certain to be controversial. But it’s also an acknowledgement of what’s going on in the culture right now, which is what publications like GQ are supposed to reflect for their readership.


About Ian Casselberry

Ian is an editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has covered baseball for Yahoo! Sports,, Bleacher Report and SB Nation, and provides analysis for several sports talk radio shows each week. He currently lives in Asheville, NC.

  • QED – quod erat demonstrandum

    GQ trying to get clicks or sales. His abhorrent behavior and those who mimicked him could be the catalyst for the downfall of the league.

    Congrats Kaep you POS.

    • Karl Kolchak

      As an Army vet myself, all I can say is Kapernick is the greatest American patriot of the 21st century. He’s shown far more courage than any keyboard warrior in Washington and the cowards who cheer them on.

      • StoJa

        Pat Tillman left the NFL and fought in a war. Kaep quit the NFL and did…..what? Nothing.

      • QED – quod erat demonstrandum

        Ding ding ding ding – you win the award for the dumbest most ignorant post of the month.

        Congrats KK – you won dmipotm.

  • MrBull

    Will never buy, read or even visit the web site of GQ again!…another liberal media making a liberal political statement again..”Kap didn’t do a thing this year, he has been out of sight on all this crap..
    And as to the cover picture, Kap is looking he is trying to be a ‘Black Panther’!

    • nbtx27

      Does anyone buy the mag, or even know there is a website?

    • Karl Kolchak

      Big loss. Wouldn’t expect anyone with your idiot attitude to buy a magazine with the word “Gentleman’s” in the title anyway.

      • MrBull

        Clearly, you must be a liberal….only a liberal would post a response just to insult the person they do not agree with…Grow up, Little Karl!

  • Deon Hamner

    I’m just here for the comments… I can feel the blood pressure rising on the kapernick haters…

    • QED – quod erat demonstrandum

      Then you feel right, brotha.

    • Karl Kolchak

      And the loud laughter of those of us who love watching them squirm!

  • Roger Bournival

    Enjoy this award, Colin – it’s not like you’re getting Super Bowl MVP anytime soon!

    • Karl Kolchak

      This year, he’ll probably better that whatever stiff manages to survive long enough to win it.

  • MrBeepo

    Shouldn’t the caption read UNEMPLOYED Citizen of the Year? I love how this guy quit his job and still can’t find a single suitor. Love it!

    • Karl Kolchak

      Except that half the teams in the NFL would be better off with him at QB right now. You go, Colin. Take it to the bastards.

    • namingrightsforsale

      lol this is embarrassing

  • Raymond Chuang

    REALLY? They should have given that to J. J. Watt, who raised some US$37 million (!!) for hurricane disaster relief. And Watt is beloved by the Houston community.

  • sportsfan365

    Sounds more like a “Rolling Stone” move. You know, the kind of desperation article that they think is going to preserve them, but someone throws them an anchor instead.

  • CreightonRabs

    Remember, this is the same media organization which employs Keith Olbermann. That alone is enough to ruin credibility.

  • Super Mateo

    Headline in November 2018: “GQ Magazine Sales Falling; CEO blames E-Zines for Decrease”

  • John Danknich

    I believe this may just break the internet.

  • SF II

    All you need to know about a man’s character.
    For Hurricane Harvey fundraising efforts:
    J.J. Watt raised $30,000,000.
    Colin Kaepernick raised $0 dollars.

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