Colin Kaepernick hasn’t played an NFL game this season, but he’s still been garnering plenty of accolades.
Sports Illustrated on Tuesday night presented the free agent quarterback with its Muhammad Ali Legacy Award, which celebrates “individuals whose dedication to the ideals of sportsmanship has spanned decades and whose career in athletics has directly or indirectly impacted the world.”
“Daily Show” host Trevor Noah introduced Kaepernick at the event before popular singer/songwriter Beyoncé presented him with the award.
Here’s a portion of Kaepernick’s acceptance speech, which will air in full Friday night at 8 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network:
“I accept this award not for myself, but on behalf of the people,” Kaepernick told the audience. “Because if it were not for my love of the people, I would not have protested. And if it was not for the support from the people, I would not be on this stage today.
“With our without the NFL’s platform, I will continue to work for the people because my platform is the people.”
Kaepernick launched a movement in August 2016 when he refused to stand for the national anthem at San Francisco 49ers games to protest racial inequality and police brutality in America. He continued his protests throughout the season, spawning similar acts across the league that have continued into the 2017 campaign. Some believe Kaepernick’s activism contributed to his failure to get signed by an NFL team this season.
“Colin took action with no fear of consequence or repercussion, only hope to change the world for the better,” Beyonce said while introducing Kaepernick, via ESPN.com. “To change perception, to change the way we treat each other, especially people of color.”
Kaepernick, who was named GQ’s “Citizen of the Year” in November, hasn’t spoken much publicly about his protests but remains active and recently filed a grievance against NFL owners for colluding to keep him out of the league.
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