Colin Kaepernick decries 'lawful lynching' while accepting Amnesty International Award previously won by Nelson Mandela
Kaepernick had launched a sports movement by taking a knee during the pre-game playing of the American national anthem in 2016.
National Football League (NFL) quarterback Colin Kaepernick was given the Ambassador of Conscience Award on Saturday by Amnesty International for his protest against racial injustice in the United States.
Kaepernick had launched a sports movement by taking a knee during the pre-game playing of the American national anthem in 2016. He was with the San Francisco 49ers at the time and had done so in an effort to protest rampant police brutality in the country. Other players took his cue and joined the protest in the 2016 season.
The award was presented to Kaepernick by onetime San Francisco 49ers teammate, Eric Reid, in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
The football star, during his acceptance speech, described the police killings in the United States of African Americans and Latinos as "lawful lynching," according to the Associated Press.
Kaepernick said: "Racialized oppression and dehumanization is woven into the very fabric of our nation — the effects of which can be seen in the lawful lynching of black and brown people by the police, and the mass incarceration of black and brown lives in the prison industrial complex."
"How can you stand for the national anthem of a nation that preaches and propagates, 'freedom and justice for all,' that is so unjust to so many of the people living there?" the athlete added.
Kaepernick's movement drew heavy criticism from President Donald Trump, who even called for the owners of the NFL teams to fire the players who were participating in it.
The NFL, however, in response to the protest by the players agreed to commit an amount of $90 million over the next seven years to social justice causes, according to reports.
Kaepernick, after his release in San Francisco, however, was not signed for the 2017 season.
Reid, who was a safety for the 2017 season, continued Kaepernick's protests and kneeled during the national anthem last season. He said that he plans to take a different approach this year, reports state.
Kaepernick, during his acceptance, also acknowledged Reid's contribution to the movement.
"Eric introducing me for this prestigious award brings me great joy. But I am also pained by the fact that his taking a knee, and demonstrating courage to protect the rights of black and brown people in America, has also led to his ostracization from the NFL when he is widely recognized as one of the best competitors in the game and in the prime of his career."
Other famous personalities who have received the prestigious award include the anti-Apartheid campaigner and South African President Nelson Mandela and Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai.