Colin Kaepernick received Sport Illustrated‘s Muhammad Ali Legacy Award as planned Tuesday night in Brooklyn, but what wasn’t planned — or at least not pre-announced — was the person who would be presenting him with the honor: Beyonce.
The New York Daily News reports that Queen Bey stunned the audience at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center at SI’s Sportsperson of the Year event.
“His message is solely focused on social injustice for historically disenfranchised people. Let’s not get that mistaken,” Beyoncé said of Kaepernick. “Ladies and gentlemen, I’m so proud and humbled to present the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award to Colin Kaepernick.”
In accepting the award, Kaepernick said he was accepting it, not on his own behalf but on behalf of “the people.”
“Because if it was not for my love of the people, I would not have protested. And if it was not for the support of the people, I would not be on this stage today,” he said.
Kaepernick continued, “With or without the NFL’s platform, I will continue to work for the people, because my platform is the people.”
The annual award, given in conjunction with the late boxing legend’s family, goes to an athlete or sports figure who “embodies the ideals of sportsmanship, leadership and philanthropy” and uses his or her platform to change the world.
An hour-long TV special culled from the awards show will air on the NBC Sports Network on Friday, December 8, at 8 p.m.
SI‘s Sportsperson of the Year honors went to Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt and Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve for their work on behalf of hurricane victims.
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