Colin Kaepernick started an ongoing debate in 2016, when he chose not to stand during the national anthem to protest the systemic racism and police brutality in this country. The issue is more prevalent than ever thanks to Donald Trump being completely unsupportive of athletes kneeling during the anthem, and Kaepernick is worthy of intense praise and respect for his commitment to fighting for what he believes in.
Which is why it was so great to see him get Sports Illustrated's Muhammad Ali Legacy Award—given to him by none other than Beyoncé, who made a surprise appearance at the event.
"Thank you for your selfless heart, and your conviction. Thank you for your personal sacrifice," Beyoncé said. "Colin took action with no fear of consequence or repercussion, only hope to change the world for the better. To change perception. To change the way we treat each other—especially people of color. We’re still waiting for the world to catch up. It’s been said that racism is so American that when we protest racism, some assume we’re protesting America. So let's be very clear: Colin has always been very respectful of the individuals who selflessly serve and protect our country and our communities and our families. His message is solely focused on social injustice for historically disenfranchised people."
For his part, Colin said he will continue to fight for racial justice: "I accept this award not for myself, but on behalf of the people. 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."