Colin Kaepernick continues to be the center of controversy and praise. He was recently honored as GQ’s Citizen of the Year and now Sports Illustrated says the pro football player will be honored with their 2017 Muhammad Ali Legacy Award for his activism and protests against racial injustice.
According to a HuffPost report, the magazine announced its decision with Lonnie Ali, Muhammad Ali’s widow who consults with Sports Illustrated to choose the annual recipient.
“Like Muhammad, Colin is a man who stands on his convictions with confidence and courage, undaunted by the personal sacrifices he has had to make to have his message heard,” Ali said in a statement. “He has used his celebrity and philanthropy to benefit some of our most vulnerable community members. I know the Ali family joins me in congratulating Colin as he receives the 2017 SI Muhammad Legacy Award.”
According to the HuffPost, other co-recipients include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown and Bill Russell.
In a news release, Sports Illustrated Executive Editor Stephen Cannella, said only a few athletes have “followed (Ali’s) example as fully” Kaepernick, who began kneeling during the pre-game national anthem to protest racial injustice against black people.
Furthermore, the editor pointed out, “In this noisy political and media environment, it’s easy to forget his core message: that all people in this country deserve to be treated with dignity, respect and recognition of their civil rights. Too often that message has been lost in the debate over how it is expressed. Colin has sacrificed much in the name of that message, even as he has furthered it with significant charitable efforts that are making a real difference in communities at the grassroots level.”
The Legacy Award will be presented at the Sportsperson of the Year Awards on Dec. 5.