Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was presented with the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award on Tuesday night at Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year Awards in New York City.
Kaepernick was named the winner of the award after he started kneeling during the national anthem last season to protest racial inequality and police brutality in America. The demonstration sparked more kneeling and sitting by players throughout the NFL. Kaepernick and his fellow protestors have been denounced by President Donald Trump. Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers in March and remains a free agent. In October, he filed a grievance against the NFL which alleges that he has not signed with a team due to collusion by the league's owners.
"I accept this award not for myself, but on behalf of the people. Because if it were not for my love of the people, I would not have protested. And if it was not for the support from the people, I would not be on this stage today,” Kapernick said in his speech.
The full speech will be aired on Friday night at 8 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. It can also be streamed on the NBC Sports App.