by G. Brown
Colin Kaepernick has received one of the highest honors in the world being named this year’s recipient of the Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award. Amnesty International is a global movement of more than seven million people who campaign to end human rights abuse. Amnesty has members in 150 countries around the globe and proudly professes its independence of any “political ideology, economic interest or religion.” They see injustice and call it out which is exactly what Kaepernick’s “take a knee” protest has been about–fighting injustice.
He used his acceptance speech to remind people what he stands for. 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,”
It’s that kind of brash honesty that has sidelined Kaepernick’s successful football career. The former SF 49ers quarterback was benched in 2016 after he began kneeling during the national anthem instead of standing. His protest sparked debates, inspired other athletes and coaches and even drew the ire of the man in the White House who said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired! He’s fired!’” And that’s exactly what’s happened to Kap’s glory days on the gridiron. He was released by the 49ers and has been watching from the sidelines as a free agent ever since.
It’s ironic that the newest ambassador for human rights is a living example of how human rights and justice can be trampled. The organization says on its website (amnesty.org) “No government is beyond scrutiny. No situation is beyond hope”, but is Kap’s situation that one exception to Amnesty’s rule and the one case of injustice that may “beyond hope”?
Maybe Kaepernick has changed his life’s goal and no longer hopes to throw winning passes or dreams of leading his team to the Superbowl. Maybe his new hope lies in fighting for those around the world who need someone who’s willing to lose everything to fight for others. Maybe Kaepernick sees the lost of fame and fortune not as a lost, but as a blessing in disguise. He put everything on the line to fight against racial injustice and police brutality when no one asked him to. He did it because he thought it was the right thing to do and he got blackballed for it. But his sacrifice and valor have not been in vain judging from from Tweets in response to his award.
Colin Kaepernick may not have a job on the football field, but much of the world is still cheering for him. Amnesty International, the global human rights organization, gave Kaepernick its highest honor, the 2018 Ambassador of Conscience Award. #TakeAKnee https://t.co/y5qJvnHtdL
— Jon Cooper 🌊 (@joncoopertweets) April 21, 2018
His legacy will loom large. Far beyond the NFL and it’s shameful actions. He is destined for more. Congratulations, @Kaepernick7. You are valued. You are respected. You are admired by so many of us. Onward, brother! https://t.co/LKlNqxwV9e
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) April 22, 2018
Literally could GAS if this guy can throw a football.
He is the living embodiment of strength & fortitude.
Congratulations @Kaepernick7 on Amnesty Intl award.
A f’ing TOUCHDOWN for the side of justice.#HeroesOfTheResistance pic.twitter.com/sId83nqvXI
— Brian Hjelle🇵🇷🇳🇴🇺🇸🇬🇧 (@Brian_Hjelle) April 23, 2018
The sport he loves may have forgotten him, but to people around the globe Kaepernick is the MVP of humanity.