NFL player Colin Kaepernick received the pristine Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award on Saturday (Apr. 21) and acknowledged the killings of Blacks and Latinos in America.
The Amnesty International ceremony in Amsterdam holds an annual event to honor a person or organization “dedicated to fighting injustice and using their talents to inspire others.” Kaepernick was selected as the honoree for his stance towards racial injustice and his monumental national anthem protests.
During the 30-year-old’s acceptance speech, he blasted police shootings of minorities 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 explained.
Although he was criticized by NFL teams and President Trump, the former San Francisco player defended his stance on kneeling during the national anthem.
“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,” Kaepernick asked.
The NFL player still remains a free agent after separating from the San Franciso 49ers in 2016. Many feel Kaepernick is being blackballed in the league, but that never dismayed the player from fighting for social justice. He’s donated at least a million to different organizations and plans to grant $90 million for the next seven years to social justice causes.
Secretary-General Salil Shetty of Amnesty International named Kaepernick “an athlete who is now widely recognized for his activism because of his refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination” the Associated Press reported.
The football player’s speech included quotes from civil rights leader Malcolm X to “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,” according to the Washington Post.
“In truth, 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 during his speech.
The NFL free agent was presented his award by a long-time friend and former teammate, Eric Reid who protested alongside Kaepernick.
Kaepernick paid homage to Reid and his stance against racial injustice.
“Eric introducing me for this prestigious award brings me great joy,” Kaepernick said. “But I am also pained by the fact that his taking a knee, and demonstrating courage to protect the rights of black and brown people in America, has also led to his ostracization from the NFL when he is widely recognized as one of the best competitors in the game and in the prime of his career,” Kaepernick stated according to AP.