Colin Kaepernick knew he would be winning Sports Illustrated's Muhammad Ali Legacy Award during the SI Sportsperson of the Year show at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Tuesday night. SI announced Kaepernick would be the recipient of the award last week. But what he didn’t know was that Beyoncé would be on hand at the SI award show to bestow the honor upon him.
Right before Kaepernick was set to receive the Ali award, Trevor Noah announced there would be a surprise presenter for it. He then brought Beyoncé out on stage. She said she was "proud and humbled" to be there to give Kaepernick the award. She also explained why the former 49ers quarterback was the perfect person to take the award home this year.
"Colin took action with no fear of consequence or repercussion, only hope to change the world for the better," Beyoncé said. "To change perception, to change the way we treat each other, especially people of color."
After Beyoncé made her introduction, Kaepernick joined her on stage to accept the Ali Award. He spoke about how Ali "mentored" and inspired him without ever actually meeting him. He also said he hopes he is following the path Ali created and sparking the kind of change that would have made Ali proud.
"The footprints he leaves are large," Kaepernick said, "and his life is and has been a multi-textured tapestry that is rich in love, wisdom, life lessons, and human kindness. I can only hope that I’m taking steps toward walking on the footsteps that he has left behind for the world to follow."
Kaepernick did not walk on the red carpet prior to the SI show, and he did not speak with reporters after the event. But he did send out a tweet thanking SI for honoring him.
This is not the first award Kaepernick has won this year. He was recently given the Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award by the ACLU of Southern California. GQ also gave him the title "Citizen of the Year" in November.