Colin Kaepernick Citizen of the Year
2 days ago GQ magazine declared Colin Kaepernick “Citizen of the Year”. With the announcement, followed thread after thread either praising or hating the decision. Kaepernick has donated a good portion of his own money to charities, spent numerous amounts of time with less fortunate kids, and has created a national dialogue focused on the equal treatment of civilians under the law of this country.
Many people only see the protests during the national anthem and attribute that as disrespect stemming from Colin Kaepernick’s sideline protests during his time with the San Francisco 49ers. Looking through social media it becomes clear that the main outrage against Kaepernick being named GQ Citizen of the Year is the counter argument J.J. Watt should have won the honor for his help in aiding the citizens of Houston after Hurricane Harvey decimated the city and it’s citizens.
I don’t have a problem with Kaepernick. I’m a rebel at heart and I applaud people for standing up for what they believe in. I also don’t really care too much for talking about freedom of speech or right to protest, and blah blah blah, we’ve heard his side of the story being defended over and over, we get it. However, Kaepernick winning this honor is very similar to Caitlyn Jenner winning the awards she won a few years ago. It’s mostly politically driven by the moment and everyone knows it. However, what Kaepernick has done/is doing is honorable and worth being recognized (even if other people disagree).
On the other hand, J.J. Watt directly impacted people who were homeless, starving, injured (physically, spiritually, emotionally) and made people from different backgrounds, cities, race care for the health and good fortune of people they didn’t know. Watt helped create empathy for citizens and raised money that immediately and directly influenced people’s lives this year and within months. Watt helped deliver hope to people of Houston when there seemed to be none.
Kaepernick has done similar things but his movement is more of a long term project, in which case, we should acknowledge the here and now efforts of J.J. Watt this year. When the world was being torn apart from Kaepernick’s movement (albeit an extension of the problem he was addressing), Harvey hit and made everyone remember we are all people and one heartbeat that drives more than our country, our society. J.J. Watt helped heal some of that. Kaepernick’s message is generally negative in delivery, whereas Watt’s efforts were all positive, and I, for one, like to reward Positivity over Negativity, and I think a positive message resonates stronger than a negative one.
GQ Magazine had a moment to help the dialogue progress and they fumbled their opportunity. Both Kaepernick and J.J. Watt should’ve graced the cover together. They could’ve honored both citizens as being outstanding. A dual honor would have emphasized the bigger picture and illuminate a greater message that when we stand together we can really make a difference. But they didn’t do that. GQ chose Kaepernick, in turn making people choose sides (again) and furthering the divisiveness that exist within our communities. Once again the dialogue could’ve progressed and once again we got distracted and made the discussion about something completely different. GQ had a chance to make a positive impact and instead they dropped the ball.