Colin Kaepernick has been named 2017’s “Citizen of the Year” by GQ magazine. In the feature story titled, “Colin Kaepernick Will Not Be Silenced,” GQ editors note that the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback helped connect the magazine with friends and confidantes to help offer “some rare insights into Colin Kaepernick himself.” Kaepernick also posed for a series of photos for the feature but declined to provide quotes for the story itself, citing a desire to remain silent.

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay offered her thoughts on Kaepernick to GQ:

I see what he’s done as art. I believe that art is seeing the world that doesn’t exist. A lot of people excel at creativity—making TV, movies, painting, writing books—but you can be an artist in your own life. Civil rights activists are artists. Athletes are artists. People who imagine something that is not there. I think some folks see his protests, his resistance, as not his work. Not intentional. Not strategic. Not as progressive action. As if this was just a moment that he got caught up in. This was work. This is work that he’s doing.

The last time I saw him was the night after Trump called him out at the Alabama rally. It was a really dynamic weekend. I had dinner with him and Nessa [Kaepernick’s partner]. To be able to sit with that brother on this particular day—on the day between two historic cultural moments that swirled around him—was shape-shifting for me. Being able to observe that and witness his stillness and wisdom—I’m just really honored to know him. He’s sitting there and I’m sitting there and I’m like, “Look at this brother—he’s doing better than any of us would’ve done.” A lot better. With a lot more elegance.

Kaepernick garnered national attention last year by his protest of systemic racism during the national anthem. He became a free agent in March and remains unsigned — which prompted him to recently file a collusion grievance against NFL owners.

Read the full story here.

Photo Credit: GQ/MARTIN SCHOELLER

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