Former NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who was the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, sparked national debate for protesting the national anthem. He has been announced as one of the ten finalists for Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2017.
Each year, Time recognizes a Person of the Year, the person or group of people that have had the most impact on the news for the past year "for better or for worse," according to the magazine's website.
Time editors recognized Kaepernick, saying he launched "a national protest against racism and police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem."
His actions led to a national movement, inspiring "hundreds of NFL players kneeled during the anthem in the wake of criticism from President [Donald] Trump."
In 2016, Kaepernick caused national outrage for his protest, which he said was meant to bring awareness to issues of police brutality and racial profiling.
"Ultimately it's to bring awareness and make people realize what's really going on in this country," Kaepernick said of the movement in 2016, according to NBC News. "There are a lot of things that are going on that are unjust, people aren't being held accountable for, that's something that needs to change ... this country stands for liberty, freedom, justice for all. And it's not happening for all right now."
He added that he cannot "stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color."
Kaepernick has yet to sign with an NFL team for the 2017-2018 season, leading him to file a collusion grievance against NFL owners, according to USA Today.
Dozens of NFL players have since joined Kaepernick's protest, especially after Trump used an explicit term to refer to those who kneeled during the anthem. Since then, other football players have decided to take a knee, raise a fist or sit on the bench during the anthem.
Trump has called the movement disrespectful to the military and unpatriotic. He also took to Twitter to criticize the NFL itself, calling the organization "weak and out of control" for not doing more to stop the protests.
Other contenders for Person of the Year include Trump, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and the #MeToo movement, which shone a light on the reality of sexual misconduct in the workplace.
Time will announce the winner on Dec. 6. Trump received the award in 2017, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel was given the title in 2015.