Much has changed in the four years since Colin Kaepernick was last on the cover of GQ. Back then he was a rippling superhero of a quarterback on the rise. But a simple act—kneeling during the national anthem—changed everything. It cost him his job. It also transformed Colin Kaepernick into a lightning rod and a powerful symbol of activism and resistance.

Though Colin Kaepernick continues his silent protest, he agreed to collaborate with GQ on a special project for our December Men of the Year issue in an effort to, as the piece explains, "reclaim the narrative of his protest." He helped us assemble a ten-person team of his closest confidants—including rapper J.Cole, director Ava DuVernay, activist Harry Belafonte, and Women’s March co-organizer Linda Sarsour—to speak on the subjects of activism, protest, and equality, and to offer some rare insights into Colin Kaepernick himself.