Colin Kaepernick is among the cover stars for GQ‘s Men of the Year issues.
The former NFL quarterback became a household name for his play, including helping to take the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl, but he became a polarizing symbol for civil rights when he began to sit out the national anthem last season.
Kaepernick, who did not grant GQ an interview, but rather tells his story through a series of photos, inspired other players to sit out the anthem in protest this season over the way African Americans are treated in this country, specifically at the hands of police.
That decision has generated a massive amount of controversy, reaching as high as the White House with President Trump condemning players who participate as a “Son of a bitch.”
Even though it appears Kaepernick has been blackballed from the league, numerous players on almost every team have sat out the anthem at one point this season, protesting both racial inequality, but also Trump’s remarks.
The NFL and players union have supported the players’ right to protest peacefully, but there have been reports some team owners, such a Jerry Jones, have threatened players with benching if they do not stand for the anthem. Trump has publicly praised this position, saying any players who sit should be fired.
Stephen Colbert, Gal Gadot and Kevin Durant also cover the end-of-the-year GQ editions.