Colin Kaepernick is being recognized for his activism and “exceptional courage.” The 30-year-old athlete received human rights organization Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience award in Amsterdam, Netherlands Saturday (April 21), adding him to a list of past recipients including Harry Belafonte, Alicia Keys, Malala Yousafzai and Nelson Mandela.
“It is the people’s unbroken love for themselves that motivates me even when faced with dehumanizing norms of a system that can lead to the loss of one’s life over simply being black,” Kaepernick said during the ceremony. “Seeking the truth, finding the truth, telling the truth and living the truth has been, and always will be, what guides my actions.”
Kaepernick added that he shares the award with “countless people throughout the world combatting the human rights violations of police officers and their uses of oppressive and excessive force.”
Eric Reid, Kaepernick’s former teammate who was first to join him in taking a knee on the football field in protest of police brutality, also spoke at the event. “Colin didn’t kneel in protest of a song, or a symbolic piece of fabric, he knelt to bring awareness to the human rights still being denied to people of color.”
The Ambassador of Conscience award honors the “spirit of activism and exceptional courage, as embodied by Colin Kaepernick,” and celebrates the former 49ers player for “choosing to speak out and inspire despite the professional and personal risks.”
“He is an athlete who is now widely recognized for his activism because of his refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination,” Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International said in a statement.
Kaepernick’s hasn’t been picked up by an NFL team since opting out of his 49ers contract last March. In October, the free agent quarterback filed a a collusion lawsuit against the NFL.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is among the roster of league executives and team owners who have already been deposed in the ongoing case. Meanwhile, Kaepernick could be joining a team soon. The Seattle Seahawks are still considering signing him, coach Pete Carroll revealed Monday (April 23) after it was rumored that Kaepernick’s refusal to end the protest lampooned his scheduled tryout with the team.