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Model Citizen: Colin Kaepernick Wins Amnesty International’s Award

Last year, Colin Kaepernick graced both the football field and the magazines. While his football spoke for itself on the field, his selfless actions drew the world’s attention.

Today, Kaepernick is jobless. A situation that is greatly attributable to his public protest against police violence. Prior to every NFL game, he bent a knee as a sign of protest. His actions sparked a national debate about the limits of free speech and the essence of patriotism

In truth, Kaepernicks’ actions received an equal measure of condemnation and commendation from people. Unfortunately, for him, the political front didn’t agree with his actions. Leading the line was President Trump who vocally opposed his protests in public forums and on his personal Twitter account.

Irrespective of all this, 2018 has brought fresh tidings to his life. He’s the latest recipient of the Ambassador of Conscience Award. He was presented with the award in Amsterdam less than a fortnight ago.

The Ambassador of Conscience Award is traditionally handed out to celebrate individuals and/or groups who speak out for justice. Notably, past winners have achieved world feats; they include the former South African president Nelson Mandela, rock band U2 and Malala Yousafzai; the Pakistani education activist who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban.

Speaking after the award ceremony was Augusta Quiney, Amnesty International’s director of Art for Amnesty, an initiative that seeks to embolden and collaborate with artists and entertainers on human rights activism. He opined that when high profile people take a stand in support of human rights, others tend to be emboldened by their actions. By presenting the award to Kaepernick, he believes that history will judge them well for taking the side of against the oppression of human rights.


After receiving the award, Kaepernick was full of praise for the numerous people who enabled him to speak out against police brutality in the best way he knew how. Incredibly, he used a Malcolm X quote to allude to the fact that he was willing to work with people from all walks of life, irrespective of their race, in the fight against police violence.

One of his teammates, Eric Reid, also without a job for banding together with Kaepernick in protest, presented him the award

Admittedly, the pair is well aware that the fight is far from over. However, they remain hopeful that their actions helped sensitize the masses on the events that were unraveling in the country.

Quiney made sure to point out that this summer would mark the 50th anniversary since U.S track stars, Tommy Smith and John Carlos raised fists at the podium of the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Their fists were raised to show solidarity with the ongoing Civil Rights movement in America.

While Kaepernick has been honored for his actions, other athletes and activists who’ve been as outspoken in the past haven’t had such rosy endings. Smith, Carlos and Muhammad Ali all refused to serve in the Vietnam War and were publicly vilified for their actions. Carlos and Smith receive numerous death threats while Ali was stripped of all his titles. In addition, Ali missed a key point of his career. Conclusively, he didn’t earn any rewards during his prime.

Quiney sees a similarity with the 1960s athletes and Kaepernick. Just this month, the Seattle Seahawks canceled a workout with Kaepernick once he refused to divulge information on whether he would be taking a knee during the anthem.


Despite the bad press, Kaepernick has received numerous honors for his stance

In November, he was the recipient of the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. This was after he was named as a favorite by Sports Illustrated. In the following month, December, he was awarded the prestigious award of the Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award.

Quiney is particularly impressed by the attitude Kaepernick has displayed all through the tribulations. That he was able to speak out on a matter that was close to the heart despite the possible repercussions, shows true character. While in the act, he inspired millions of others.

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