Beyonce awards Colin Kaepernick 'Muhammad Ali Legacy Award'
Beyonce said she was 'proud and humbled' to present the award, given to 'former athletes and sports figures who embody the ideals of sportsmanship, leadership and philanthropy as vehicles for changing the world'. Photograph: (Twitter)
Beyonce presented Colin Kaepernick with Sports Illustrated's Muhammad Ali Legacy Award Tuesday night.
Kaepernick is the sports star who began kneeling during the national anthem last season to protest racial inequality and police brutality. The demonstration sparked a wave of protests by NFL players during the national anthem -- something which has been repeatedly denounced by US President Donald Trump.
Kaepernick left San Francisco 49ers in March and is currently signed with another team. He even filed a grievance against the NFL in October alleging that he remains unsigned as a result of collusion by owners following his protests.
On receiving the prestigious award, Kaepernick promised that "with or without the NFL's platform, I will continue to work for the people." He spoke about continuing Ali's legacy of fighting social injustice, saying the boxing great "mentored me without ever meeting me."
He said, "The footprints he leaves are large," Kaepernick said, "and his life is and has been a multi-textured tapestry that is rich in love, wisdom, life lessons and human kindness. I can only hope that I'm taking steps toward walking in the footsteps that he has left behind for the world to follow."
The award presented by Beyonce was quite a surprise in itself, with comedian Trevor Noah calling out for the singer on stage. While presenting the award, she said that she was "proud and humbled" to present the award, given to "former athletes and sports figures who embody the ideals of sportsmanship, leadership and philanthropy as vehicles for changing the world."
"Colin took action with no fear of consequence or repercussion, only hope to change the world for the better," Beyonce said. "To change perception, to change the way we treat each other, especially people of colour."
Last year the award was given to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who called Kaepernick a "worthy recipient" during a video tribute.
Abdul-Jabbar said, "He fully embraced the risk to his career in order to remind Americans of the systemic racism that was denying African-Americans their opportunities to equal education, jobs, health and even their lives."