The "Flawless" hitmaker concluded: "We're still waiting for the world to catch up.His message is exclusively focused on social injustice for historically disenfranchised people".
After taking to the stage amid rousing ovation, Kaepernick told the audience: "I accept this award, knowing that the legacy of Muhammad Ali is that of a champion of the people".
Well said. In case you forgot, the football stud sparked national debate previous year when he began kneeling during the national anthem in an attempt to protest racial inequality and police brutality in the U.S. Although many have voiced their support for Colin, the American athlete has been met with quite a bit of criticism too.
Music icon Beyonce introduced the 30-year-old, who last played during Week 17 of the 2016 National Football League season.
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Brought out by presenter Trevor Noah (host of The Daily Show), Beyonce said she was "proud and humbled" to present the award to Kaepernick, who she said " took action with no fear of outcome or repercussion, only hope to change the world for the better".
"Colin took action with no fear of outcome or repercussion, only hope to change the world for the better", Beyonce said. She also explained why the former 49ers quarterback was the ideal person to take the award home this year. "And if it was not for the support from the people, I would not be on this stage today".
J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans and Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros were also honored as joint recipients of Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year award for their efforts on the field and in aiding Houston's recovery from Hurricane Harvey.
Dozens of NFL players have followed Kapernick's example in kneeling during the national anthem to protest racist policing, despite criticism by the White House and Kaepernick's inability to earn a roster spot after launching the movement.
Kaepernick did not walk on the red carpet prior to the SI show, and he did not speak with reporters after the event. Be sure to ch-ch-check out Colin's FULL speech when the ceremony is televised on Friday night at 8 p.m. on the NBC Sports Network.