What began with sitting for the national anthem to stand for what he believed in led Colin Kaepernick to become one of America’s most talked about athletes. With many plays in him, Kaepernick sacrificed his football career in the name of social justice.
Philando Castile. Sandra Bland. Eric Garner. Alton Sterling. Freddie Gray. Tamir Rice. More than 250 black people were killed by police in 2016. In August 2016 while the anthem played before the 49ers vs Texans preseason game, Kaepernick took a silent seat on the bench.
Two weeks following the incident, media outlets finally began to question Kaepernick about his decision to sit during the anthem. It was then that the former quarterback explained that his action was his way of taking a stand against inequality and social injustice as it pertains to the oppression of people of color.
“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way,” he said. “There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
The decision to speak his truth cost the player over a year of his NFL career, but he never wavered from what he believed. He spoke out, suffered, and donated his time and money to the black community while causing others to consider his view point.
For his unyielding determination in the battle against social injustice, even when the price he paid was high, Colin Kaepernick received the 2017 Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. The award honors a figure that represents sportsmanship, leadership, philanthropy and used sports as a platform to help change the world.