Last night was Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year Awards. While the night’s biggest hubbub was Colin Kaepernick set to receive the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award, nobody could have guessed that Beyoncé would be the one to hand it to him.
Longtime mutual admirers for their outspoken stances on social issues, even Kaepernick was stunned to see Queen Béy bestow upon him the honors. Speaking of the player, Beyoncé said “Colin has always been very respectful of the individuals who selfless serve and protect our country and our communities and our families. His message is solely focused on social injustice for historically disenfranchised people.”
Beyoncé and husband JAY-Z have been strong supporters of Kaepernick since his protests began. It was widely speculated that JAY turned down performing at this year’s Super Bowl halftime show in solidarity with Kaepernick, a sentiment that was further punctuated with JAY wearing one of the player’s jerseys during an SNL performance.
Kaepernick was characteristically humble during his acceptance speech, making sure to recognize that the movement that sprung up around his protest was far greater than himself.
“I accept this award not for myself, but on behalf of the people. Because if it were not for my love of the people, I would not have protested. And if it was not for the support from the people, I would not be on this stage today. With or without the NFL’s platform, I will continue to work for the people because my platform is the people.”