Staff writer Kevin Korbel gives his opinion on the outcome of the winner
GQ Magazine came out with their recent issue of their popular magazine with the cover of the page featuring the “Man of the Year”, Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback last season, was responsible for starting a national movement to protest the Star-Spangled Banner by taking a knee along the sideline.
It wasn’t long before football players across the country, from pee-wee to professional, copied the act made by Kaepernick’s unpatriotic protest. Even a few cheerleaders had dropped their pom-poms in a show of solidarity for the movement. They said they were protesting racial inequality and police brutality, but it’s clear to most of the country that Kaepernick and his followers were dishonoring the flag, the anthem and the military.
While I do support people standing up for what they believe in, and doing what is right, Kaepernick has been portrayed as a person who disrespects our military, and spitting on the flag of our great country, a country who fought for their freedom so players like Kaepernick can live out their dreams of being an NFL quarterback, without fearing for their lives every day. What gives GQ the right to call him Man of the Year, when he’s faced public scrutiny all across the world for what he’s doing?
GQ, the magazine for emasculated men, hailed Kaepernick as a “powerful symbol of activism and resistance.” While they do have a point for being a symbol of activism, and resistance, it seems to me that this is more of a publicity stunt, rather than a contest for finding the man of the year. Kaepernick, who filed a grievance last month accusing NFL teams of colluding to keep him out of the league, agreed to collaborate with the magazine on the special project in an attempt to “reclaim the narrative of his protest.” The 30-year-old became the first NFL player to take a knee during the national anthem last season to protest police brutality and racial injustice.
While Kaepernick has remained mostly silent in the 14 months since, protests have continued across the league in his absence this season. During a campaign rally in Alabama in September, President Trump called on NFL owners to fire players who refused to stand for the National Anthem.
With all this public scrutiny and self-hate Colin Kaepernick is receiving, I believe should have never even been in the conversation for Man of the Year. Instead, I put in my vote for Houston Texans defensive lineman, JJ Watt. JJ, who set out with a goal of raising $200,000 for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts down in Texas a couple of months ago, has been highly praised as an advocate for helping people.
In the three weeks that followed since Hurricane Harvey made headlines, thanks to unprecedented support and generosity from over 200,000 donors from across the country and around the world, JJ Watt’s fundraising raised over $37 million. The efforts JJ Watt has made to rebuild a town in wreckage has been unbelievable, and people, not just in Houston, but across the world have thanked Watt for his efforts.
While what Kaepernick did made headlines, and he did donate to charity, Kaepernick’s efforts are miniscule compared to JJ Watt. GQ should in the future reevaluate what they mean in defining a Man of the Year, because I believe a Man of the Year should be a person of honor and dignity, not controversy and public scrutiny.