Much has changed in the four years since Colin Kaepernick was last on the cover of GQ. Back then he was a rippling superhero of a quarterback on the rise. But a simple act—kneeling during the national anthem—changed everything. It cost him his job. It also transformed Colin Kaepernick into a lightning rod and a powerful symbol of activism and resistance.
Though Colin Kaepernick continues his silent protest, he agreed to collaborate with GQ on a special project for our December Men of the Year issue in an effort to, as the piece explains, “reclaim the narrative of his protest.”
He helped us assemble a 10-person team of his closest confidants—including rapper J.Cole, director Ava DuVernay, activist Harry Belafonte, and Women’s March co-organizer Linda Sarsour—to speak on the subjects of activism, protest, and equality, and to offer some rare insights into Colin Kaepernick himself.
Paired with the piece are inspiring images by Martin Schoeller, who photographed Kaepernick in Harlem, intending to evoke the spirit of Muhammad Ali’s anti-Vietnam War protests in the neighborhood during the late ’60s.
Read more at GQ.