Colin Kaepernick received the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award during last night’s (December 5) filming of Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year show. None other than Beyoncé Knowles-Carter presented the prize in recognition of the free agent’s activism against racist police violence. Supporters say that Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quaterback who has knelt during the National Anthem at games and created the Know Your Rights youth campaign, is not being hired due to his political stance.
— BEYONCÉ LEGION (@Bey_Legion) December 6, 2017
“Colin took action with no fear of consequence or repercussion, only hope to change the world for the better,” Beyoncé said before presenting the award. “To change perception, to change the way we treat each other—especially people of color.”
“It’s been said that racism is so American, that when we protest racism, some assume we’re protesting America,” she continued, according to Pitchfork. “So, let’s be very clear: Colin has always been very respectful of the individuals who selfless serve and protect our country and our communities and our families.”
Kaepernick paid homage to his supporters in his acceptance speech:
“I accept this award not for myself, but on behalf of the people. Because if it were not for my love for the people, I would not have protested. And if was not for the support from the people, I would not be on this stage today. With or without the NFL’s platform, I will continue to work for the people, because my platform is the people.”
Watch an excerpt from the speech below:
Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year Award ceremony will broadcast on Friday (December 8) at 8 p.m. EST on NBC Sports Network.