The 2017 Sports Illustrated “Sportsperson of the Year” Award Show took place at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Tuesday night (Dec. 5). Beyoncé made a surprise appearance at the event, brought out by The Daily Show‘s Trevor Noah to present Colin Kaepernick with SI’s Muhammad Ali Legacy Award.
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“Colin took action with no fear of consequence or repercussion. Only hope to change the world for the better,” said the iconic singer, praising the former NFL quarterback for his fearlessness last season, protesting peacefully by kneeling during the U.S. National Anthem. “To change perception, to change the way we treat each other. Especially people of color who are still waiting for the world to catch up,” Queen Bey said soon after.
“I say this as a person who receives credit for using my platform to protest systemic oppression, racialized injustice and and the dire consequences of anti-blackness in America,” said Kaepernick. “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. With our without the NFL’s platform, I will continue to work for the people because my platform is the people.”
The Muhammad Ali Legacy Award is given to a person who “embodies the ideals of sportsmanship, leadership and philanthropy and has used sports as a platform for changing the world,” says Sports Illustrated. The magazine went on to say that Kaepernick received the honor due to his “steadfastness in the fight for social justice, for his adherence to his beliefs no matter the cost.”