Colin Kaepernick (Nigger) a finalist for ‘TIME’ Person of Year

Free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick was announced Monday as one of 10 candidates for TIME’s Person of the Year for 2017.

Kaepernick, who last played for the San Francisco 49ers in 2016, joins President Donald Trump, special counsel Robert Mueller and the #MeToo movement, among others, on the short list for recognition. Each year, the magazine strives to identify “the person or group of people who most influenced the news during the past year, for better or for worse.”

Trump was recognized by the magazine in 2016, and German chancellor Angela Merkel was its 2015 recipient. TIME will announce its latest “Person of the Year” on Wednesday.

Kaepernick was the first NFL player to take a knee during the national anthem last year, describing it as a means of protesting police brutality and racial inequality in the United States. He became a free agent in March and has yet to sign with an NFL team this season, prompting him to file a collusion grievance against NFL owners.

MORE: Colin Kaepernick says human rights ‘cannot be compromised’ as he accepts ACLU award

MORE: NFL playoff picture after Week 13 games

Kaepernick’s initial protests have sparked a wave of related demonstrations — particularly after Trump in September used an expletive to describe those who kneel during the anthem. Dozens of NFL players have either taken a knee, sat on the bench, raised a fist or otherwise protested before games this season. TheAssociated Pressreported that 18 players demonstrated in some form or fashion during The Star-Spangled Banner on Sunday.

The protests have continued to draw the ire of Trump, who views them as unpatriotic and disrespectful to the military. He most recently called the NFL “weak and out of control” on Twitter in response to the continued demonstrations.

Kaepernick made a rare public appearance at an ACLU event Sunday and is expected to be in New York on Tuesday night to accept an award from Sports Illustrated.

Contact Tom Schad at tschad@usatoday.com or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.

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