Colin Kaepernick may not be actually playing in the NFL this year, but he has earned a prestigious award.

Colin Kaepernick Sports Illustrated Award News

The 30-year-old free-agent quarterback has received this year’s Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. The magazine said Kaepernick has earned the title due to his “steadfastness in the fight for social justice, for his adherence to his beliefs no matter the cost.”

The award is given each year to someone who “embodies the ideals of sportsmanship, leadership and philanthropy and has used sports as a platform for changing the world,” the magazine said.

“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.


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“Like Muhammad, Colin is a man who stands on his convictions with confidence and courage, undaunted by the personal sacrifices he has had to make to have his message heard. And he has used his celebrity and philanthropy to the benefit of some of our most vulnerable community members.”

In August 2016, Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem before a preseason game to make a statement about racial injustice, specifically police brutality against minorities. His move sparked a wave of protests across the NFL and other sports leagues this year.

Since then, Kaepernick has also landed a $1 million book deal and filed a grievance against all 32 NFL team owners for collusion. He is rumored to soon be given the opportunity to meet with commissioner Roger Goodell one-on-one.

One can wonder if President Donald Trump will be irked by Kaepernick winning the award. Trump has repeatedly condemned kneeling or sitting to protest the national anthem, citing disrespect to the flag and the troops. He has even encouraged owners to fire players who engage in this type of behavior.

This is the second time in a month a major magazine has issued an honor to Kaepernick. The free agent was named GQ’s 2017 Citizen of the Year on Nov. 13.

Previous recipients of the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award include Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. 

BUFFALO, NY – OCTOBER 16: Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers looks to throw against the Buffalo Bills during the first half at New Era Field on October 16, 2016 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

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