I Support Colin Kaepernick for 2017 Time Magazine Person of the Year Honor
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I am not making the case for Time Magazine to name former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick its 2017 Person of the Year. I don’t have to. Time already made the case for that. The editors are very explicit on just what they look for in making their person of the year selection. The criterion is “the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year.”
The instant Kaepernick took his fateful knee in August 2016, he more than fit the Time bill of an individual who stirred the public issues pot and rammed home the perennially eternal issue of police abuse, and bigger still, racial injustice in America society. There hasn’t been a day that has gone by since then that Kaepernick’s name and simple act of personal protest hasn’t been either at the top of, or close, to the top of the dialogue about race.
Kaepernick’s name is now rightly and routinely spoken of in the same breath as Ali’s. He took a stand in the prime of his football career, told why, sacrificed millions of dollars for it, and was pilloried from pillar to post by the sports establishment, and tacitly by the NFL owners. They have made clear in their actions that he is persona non- grata in their league. He didn’t just stand as a symbol of racial protest. He also backed his action, with an action, that is just as profound and far reaching. He has given tens of thousands from his personal funds to dozens of grassroots community organization’s programs for education, health, and political engagement, and at-risk youth. He’s declared that his life’s mission is to help fund and promote organizations that serve underserved communities.
Kaepernick’s protest was peaceful, personal, dignified and in the time honored tradition of countless icons for racial justice from MLK to Rosa Parks. All of whom are eternally praised and honored today as American heroes.
Time holds an online poll and invites all to name and vote for someone they think deserves the Person of the Year Honor, announced in December. Time’s editors, though, will make the choice for the honor. Still, the poll is a good vehicle for the legions who think Kaepernick should get the distinction to let Time know it. I will. And I will continue to call on others to tell Time Magazine why Kaepernick richly deserves to be its Person of the Year.
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