Former San Francisco 49er football player, Colin Kaepernick is the recipient of the 2017 Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. Though this is a prestigious honor to receive, it did not come without sacrifice.
Kaepernick has been "blackballed" from the NFL and labeled a "distraction," for his "take a knee movement" during the National Anthem before NFL games. However, the movement has opened up the discussion about oppression and police brutality.
Sports Illustrated and the Ali family award this title to someone "who embodies the ideals of sportsmanship, leadership and philanthropy and has used sports as a platform for changing the world."
The quarterback has also been awarded GQ's 2017 "Citizen of the Year."
For Kaepernick, his truth is much greater than football. He only used the NFL arena to get the attention of those who may not have known or disregard the brutality oppressed people face. So much so, taking a knee expanded outside the realm of the football platform.
In a Sports Illustrated interview Kaepernick explains:
“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way,” he added. “There are bodies in the street,” he said then, “and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Sports Illustrated and the Ali family see Colin Kaepernick as well-deserving of the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award because while he is no Ali, Kaepernick forfeited his football career to advocate for those mistreated by the justice system.
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