"I am proud to be able to present this to Colin for his passionate defense of social justice and civil rights for all people", Lonnie Ali, Muhammad's widow, said in a statement provided to the magazine. "If it were not for my love of the people, I would not have protested". "So let's be very clear", she said.
Presenting the prize, Beyoncé said of the former San Francisco 49ers player: "Colin took action with no fear of effect or repercussion only hope to change the world for the better. I can only hope that I'm taking steps toward walking on the footsteps that he has left behind for the world to follow". To change perception, to change the way we treat each other. "Especially people of color". The Grammy-winning singer announced her 2016 Formation World Tour in a commercial after she performed at the halftime show with Bruno Mars and Coldplay. Past winners include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell and Magic Johnson. It's been said that racism is so American, that when we protest racism, some assume we are protesting America.
Kaepernick helped spark a national debate about race in the USA a year ago when he sat, then knelt, during the national anthem at 49ers games to protest police brutality. The demonstration sparked a wave of protests by National Football League players during the anthem that repeatedly have been denounced by President Donald Trump. He says teams should fire players for such actions. "He's fired. He's fired!'" Trump said in Alabama. Ironically, though, it may have been U.S. President Donald Trump who drew most attention to Kaepernick's movement by trying to vilify it.
The artist and activist honoured the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback with the award for using his platform to protest against police brutality and racial injustice, including the powerful, symbolic moment where he sparked the 'take a knee' movement by kneeling during the United States national anthem before games.