Two icons met face to face Tuesday night at Sports Illustrated’s 2017 Sportsperson of the Year awards ceremony.
Beyoncé made a surprise public appearance to present Colin Kaepernick with the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award for his astounding activism in the fight for the liberation of Black lives. While the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback continues his fight with the NFL after being outed from the organization due to his kneeling protest, his demonstration continues to gain momentum and places the league under the spotlight as athletes continue to speak out against injustices acted out on people of color.
The mom of three descended the stage in a glittering Laquan Smith dress and gave a rousing speech before handing the statue off to Kaepernick.
“It feels so good to be here on such a special night of appreciation,” she said as she took the stage. “Thank you, Colin Kaepernick. Thank you for your selfless heart and your conviction. Thank you for your personal sacrifice,” she continued.
“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 treated each other, especially people of color. We are 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. Let’s not get that mistaken.”
Kaepernick, decked out in all Black with his classic afro, Kaepernick accepted the award on behalf of the people.
“I accept this award knowing that the legacy of Muhammad Ali is that of a champion of the people, and one who was affectionately known as ‘the people’s champ,'” Kaepernick stated. ” I accept this award not for myself but on behalf of the people, because if it were not for my love for people I would not have protested, and if it were not for the support from the people I would not be on this stage today. With or without the NFL’s platform, I will continue to work for the people, because my platform is the people,” Kaepernick said.
“I can only hope that I’m taking steps toward walking on the footsteps that he has left behind for the world to follow,” he said at the end of his speech.