Beyoncé made a surprise appearance Tuesday night to present Colin Kaepernick with Sports Illustrated’s Muhammad Ali Legacy Award.
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback was honored with the award for using his sports platform to protest racial injustice and police brutality, sparking a nationwide take-a-knee movement in the process. Despite an impressive career, Kaepernick remains unsigned by an NFL team more than a year after he began to kneel during the national anthem before games.
Last year’s Ali Award winner, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, called Kaepernick a “worthy recipient” during a video tribute.
“He fully embraced the risk to his career in order to remind Americans of the systemic racism that was denying African Americans their opportunities to equal education, jobs, health and even their lives,” Abdul-Jabbar said.
Kaepernick skipped the red carpet prior to the show and was not available for questions. The awards show will be broadcast Friday night on NBC Sports Network.
Kaepernick also recently was honored by the ACLU of Southern California with the Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award and was, which included pledging $1 million to “organizations working in oppressed communities.”