Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick received an award on Saturday by human rights organization Amnesty International. The award was presented by former teammate Eric Reid for his National Anthem kneeling.
The kneeling began during the 2016 NFL season to protest police brutality and alleged systemic racism. Kaepernick did not play during the 2017 season and is contesting the NFL for alleged collusion by the League’s administration.
Per CBS News:
Human rights organization Amnesty International has honored former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick with its Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2018, lauding his peaceful protests against racial inequality. The former San Francisco 49ers star was handed the award at a ceremony Saturday in the Dutch capital by onetime teammate Eric Reid.
Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty called Kaepernick “an athlete who is now widely recognized for his activism because of his refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination.”
Amnesty hands its award each year to a person or organization “dedicated to fighting injustice and using their talents to inspire others.”
“The Ambassador of Conscience award celebrates the spirit of activism and exceptional courage, as embodied by Colin Kaepernick. He is an athlete who is now widely recognized for his activism because of his refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination,” said Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty International, the Hill reports.
Kaepernick, in his acceptance speech, said he remains committed to protesting police violence.
“This is an award that I share with all of the countless people throughout the world combating the human rights violations of police officers, and their uses of oppressive and excessive force,” Kaepernick said, per the Hill. “To quote Malcolm X, when he said that he, ‘will join in with anyone — I don’t care what color you are — as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth,’ I am here to join with you all in this battle against police violence.”
As ESPN reports, Kaepernick referred to killings at the hands of law enforcement officials as “lawful lynchings.”
“Racialized oppression and dehumanization is woven into the very fabric of our nation — the effects of which can be seen in the lawful lynching of black and brown people by the police, and the mass incarceration of black and brown lives in the prison industrial complex,” Kaepernick said, per the report.
Kaepernick first took a knee to protest police brutality during the playing of the national anthem when he was with the 49ers in 2016.
“How can you stand for the national anthem of a nation that preaches and propagates, ‘freedom and justice for all,’ that is so unjust to so many of the people living there?” he said at Saturday’s award ceremony.
Other players joined his protest in the 2016 season, drawing the ire of President Donald Trump, who called for team owners to fire such players.
In response to the player demonstrations, the NFL agreed to commit $90 million over the next seven years to social justice causes in a plan.
Kaepernick wasn’t signed for the 2017 season following his release in San Francisco.
Reid, a safety who is now a free agent, continued Kaepernick’s protests by kneeling during the anthem last season.
As Sports Illustrated reports, Kaepernick was offered an opportunity to practice with the Seattle Seahawks, potentially garnering a spot on the team. However, the practice was postponed when Kaepernick said he would continue kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem:
Free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick was set to workout for the Seattle Seahawks this week but the trip was postponed after he declined to stop kneeling during the national anthem next season, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
On NFL Live, Schefter said there is a possibility that the workout could be canceled. The team is still considering bringing him in but no final say has been made.
The team has an opening for Russell Wilson’s back-up quarterback. Seattle wanted to know that Kaepernick would not kneel during the upcoming season and he was unable to assure them of that.
Seahawks general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Caroll want Kaepernick to consider how he wants to proceed on everything and meet at a later date when he has a clearer idea, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.