Colin’s consciousness: Amnesty International honors Kaepernick for activism

in Entertainment & Sports by

While the NFL continues to snub Colin Kaepernick for taking a knee during the National Anthem at NFL games, the former 49ers quarterback continues to be recognized for his humanitarian work off the field.

Human rights organization Amnesty International honored Kaepernick this weekend with the Conscience Award for 2018 during a Saturday ceremony in Amsterdam.  

“The Ambassador of Conscience award celebrates the spirit of activism and exceptional courage, as embodied by Colin Kaepernick. He is an athlete who is now widely recognised for his activism because of his refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

Kaepernick fans had a glimmer of hope that he would return to the gridiron when the sidelined free agent was being considered by the Seattle Seahawks last week. The Seahawks reportedly wanted Kaepernick to stop the protests and gave him an ultimatum at the last minute. Kaepernick refused to say whether he would continue his on-field protests. A week after he was disinvited to work out for the team, head coach Pete Carroll has said that the team is still open to signing Kaepernick.

While the NFL and others scoffed at Kaepernick’s peaceful protests, the activist community embraced him.

Kaepernick’s items are included as part of the Black Lives Matter exhibit at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

In 2017, Sports Illustrated honored Kaepernick with the Muhammad Ali legacy award in 2017 and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California honored him with the Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award for his impact on activism.

Through his foundation, Kaepernick fully funds a “Know Your Rights Camp” for youth to instruct them on how to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios. Additionally, he continues to raise money to donate to organizations working on oppressed communities through his #10for10 campaign.

NBA Hall of Famer Karim Abdul-Jabbar called Kaepernick a “hero that Muhammad Ali would be proud of in” a story he wrote for Sports Illustrated in 2017. Former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali was an outspoken proponent of the Civil Rights movement and refused the enlist into military draft during the Vietnam War citing his religious beliefs. As a result he was stripped of his boxing license and passport and was unable to professionally box for five years.

Kaepernick has since filed a grievance against the NFL last year accusing team owners of colluding not to hire him because of his protests against racism, according to The Washington Post. He has been reported to have testified at two depositions related to the grievance.

In the interim, the athletic apparel and shoe company Adidas has said that they are ready to offer Kaepernick an endorsement deal once he signs with an NFL team.

The LA Times quoted Adidas saying,”If he signs on a team, we would definitely want to sign him,” Mark King, president of the athletic apparel and shoe company’s North America division.”

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Veteran newspaper and digital journalist, she is a thought leader in accountability journalism and ethics, and serves as a member of PBS’ Editorial Standards Review Committee.

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