The "Me Too" Movement, which brought widespread national attention to the issues of sexual assault and harassment, was selected as Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2017. Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was a finalist.
Time confirmed the choice of the "Silence Breakers" on Wednesday morning:
The Silence Breakers are TIME's Person of the Year 2017 #TIMEPOY https://t.co/mLgNTveY9z https://t.co/GBo9z57RVG2017-12-6 12:34:10
"For giving voice to open secrets, for moving whisper networks onto social networks, for pushing us all to stop accepting the unacceptable, the Silence Breakers are the 2017 Person of the Year," Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal wrote.
Kaepernick became a household name during the 2016 NFL preseason when he refused to stand for the United States national anthem as a form of protest against racial injustice. He explained his actions, which have been replicated by athletes across sports, to Steve Wyche of NFL Media.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," he said in August 2016. "To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
The 30-year-old Wisconsin native, who attended the University of Nevada before getting picked by the Niners in the second round of the 2011 draft, opted out of his contract with the organization in March and has remained a free agent ever since with the 2017 regular season nearing its conclusion.
That's led many fellow NFL players, including Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, to suggest Kaepernick is being "blackballed" for leading the anthem movement.
"I'm sure he is," Sherman said on ESPN's First Take in March. "It's difficult to see because he's played at such a high level, and you see guys, quarterbacks, who have never played at a high level being signed by teams. So it's difficult to understand.
"Obviously he's going to be in a backup role at this point. But you see quarterbacks, there was a year Matt Schaub had a pretty rough year and got signed the next year. So it has nothing to do with football. You can see that. They signed guys who have had off years before."
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell downplayed that line of thinking in July, telling reporters the QB's free-agent status was among the "independent decisions that clubs make."
Meanwhile, Kaepernick made a $1 million pledge to support "organizations working in oppressed communities." He's been named GQ's Citizen of the Year and was the winner of Sports Illustrated's Muhammad Ali Legacy Award.