Amnesty International Names Colin Kaepernick Its Ambassador Of Conscience
Athlete-activist Colin Kaepernick has been awarded an Ambassador of Conscience Award for his advocacy against racial and social injustice.
Colin Kaepernick is a hero and an advocate against racial and social injustice. His public protest has angered the president of the United States, Republicans and hate groups all across the country. Yet, Amnesty International has seen how Kaepernick’s work has impacted people across the globe, and awarded him its Ambassador of Conscience Award on Saturday, April 21.
“The Ambassador of Conscience award celebrates the spirit of activism and exceptional courage, as embodied by Colin Kaepernick,” Salil Shetty, the human rights group’s secretary-general, said in a statement. “He is an athlete who is now widely recognized for his activism because of his refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination.”
The Ambassador of Conscience award is Amnesty International’s highest honor, and past winners include Nelson Mandela, U2, Malala Yousafzai, Ai Weiwei, and Alicia Keys. Kaepernick was presented with the award at a ceremony in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Kaepernick became the center of controversy when he kneeled during the national anthem before several 2016 NFL preseason and regular-season games in protest of police shooting of black men and other social injustices faced by black people in the United States. “To me, this is something that has to change,” Kaepernick said in an August 2016 interview. “And when there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, and this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”
The protests inspired other players across multiple sports to participate, sparked national debates over issues of police brutality, racial and social injustice. He was also criticized for what many onlookers characterized as “showing disrespect to the U.S. flag.” “Colin Kaepernick’s commitment is all the more remarkable because of the alarming levels of vitriol it has attracted from those in power,” Shetty said. Since March 2017, Kaepernick became a free agent, but has yet to be offered a contract from any NFL team.
On Saturday, when Kaepernick accepted his award, he commented that he shares the award 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. I am here to join with you all in this battle against police violence.”
In addition to the Amnesty International award, Kaepernick was named GQ’s “Citizen of the Year” last November, accepted the 2017 Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award in December, plus received the Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award from the ACLU that sam month.