While one popular men’s magazine declared social activist and unsigned NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick its Citizen of the Year, Fox News columnist Todd Starnes came to a much different conclusion.
As The Western Journal reported, GQ featured Kaepernick — whose protests last season led to continued demonstrations across the NFL and beyond this year — in a cover story for its upcoming “Men of the Year” issue.
In a column Monday, Starnes suggested in his headline that a more appropriate title for the former San Francisco 49er is “Coward of the Year.”
He attempted to defend his tough talk by declaring “most of the country” thinks Kaepernick “and his minions” were not protesting perceived racial injustice but “were dishonoring the flag, the anthem and the military.”
Based on that opinion, Starnes wrote that “GQ seems to think that disrespecting our military and spitting on our flag is a symbol of heroism and manliness.”
Referencing the title Kaepernick received from the magazine, Starnes said the actions he perceives as unpatriotic are hardly the qualities of a model citizen.
“That’s not citizenship — that’s cowardice,” he wrote.
Starnes’ position received some support on Twitter by those who believe the pregame anthem is not the time for a demonstration.
Not only was he disrespectful but clearly ignorant to be using his place of work 2 be “protesting”. It doesn’t matter what he was protesting or why,it shouldn’t have been done at his place of work. Protest on your OWN time. Buy a permit like everyone else.
— A Radiant You Salon (@crazywildwitty1) November 13, 2017
Others mentioned men, including some NFL stars, they believe were more deserving of the honor.
JJ Watt raised $37 million for Hurricane Harvey victims. 37 MILLION! But Kaepernick refused to stand for our national anthem (a year ago) and is Citizen of the Year. Right…
— Britt McHenry (@BrittMcHenry) November 13, 2017
Starnes used the remainder of his column to mention some candidates he felt were overlooked by GQ’s editors.
“Marine veteran Taylor Weston commandeered a pickup truck and rushed victims of the Las Vegas massacre to the hospital,” Starnes wrote. “He did not make the list.”
Starnes cited the armed citizen who fired his gun, striking the shooter responsible for dozens of deaths and injuries at a Texas church earlier this month. He also mentioned the Cajun Navy, a volunteer force who aided victims of Hurricane Harvey.
“And the hundreds of teenage football players who honored our flag and our troops by staging patriotic pre-game celebrations did not make the list either,” he wrote.
GQ received significant praise for its decision among those who support the ongoing cause behind the NFL protests Kaepernick started last season.
Colin Kaepernick took a stand (by taking a knee) in the face of injustice! GQ did the right thing by making him “Citizen of the Year”.
We stand with you Kaep!
— Luisa Haynes (@wokeluisa) November 13, 2017
Many of his supporters and fans believe, as the GQ cover story claimed, that the quarterback has remained unsigned since opting out of his contract earlier this year because of his association with the protests.