Colin Kaepernick is currently overseas, continuing to make those in the U.S. that much more proud of him. As reported, the former San Francisco 49ers player was honored in Amsterdam Saturday afternoon (April 21), with Amnesty International awarding him its Ambassador of Conscience Award.
During a ceremony taking place in the Netherlands capital, his onetime teammate Eric Reid had the pleasure of presenting Kaep with the top honor, which he received for his tireless protest against racial injustice and police brutality.
His NFL protest, which began in 2016 when the then-employed quarterback first took a knee during the national anthem, sparked a worldwide movement (and many conversations), with his silent call-to-action drawing attention to the systemic oppression people of color face on a daily basis in America.
Kaepernick accepted the award in person, taking a moment to address those in attendance.
"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 said during his acceptance speech. "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?"
While Kaepernick is still a free agent, the NFL has reportedly agreed to commit $90 million over the next seven years to social justice causes. Kaep himself completed his million-dollar pledge earlier this year, with a handful of celebrities, including Meek Mill, Usher, Chris Brown, Steph Curry and Serena Williams, among others, matching donations of $10,000 to help Kaep reach his philanthropic goal.
During his acceptance speech, Kaepernick also addressed the importance of his former teammate introducing him, noting how Reid's participation in the protest has unfortunately led to the NFL ostracizing him as well.
"Eric introducing me for this prestigious award brings me great joy," Kaepernick added. "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."
Per ESPN, Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty referred to Kaepernick as "an athlete who is now widely recognized for his activism because of his refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination."
South African President Nelson Mandela and Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani schoolgirl who campaigned for girls' right to education after surviving being shot by Taliban militants, have both been previously honored by Amnesty International with the prestigious award.
"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 concluded.