Sports Illustrated closed the whirlwind year in sports out with the biggest bang of them all on Tuesday evening.
The 2017 Sports Illustrated SportsPerson of the Year Awards brought out a modest crowd full of star athletes, entertainers and media who all gathered at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY to celebrate the accomplishments of several of this year’s honorees. Among this year’s recipients was former NFL quarterback-turned-dedicated -activist, Colin Kaepernick, who received the coveted Muhammad Ali Legacy Award.
While the event’s attendees anticipated a big moment when Kaepernick took the stage to accept his award, even the 30-year-old athlete himself was taken by surprise when fellow presenter Trevor Noah brought none other than Beyonce to the stage to present him with the award. Outfitted in a stunning black and silver mini-dress, Mrs. Carter shared words of gratitude for Kaepernick and his selfless quest to bring an end to the systemic oppression of people of color.
“It’s been said that racism is so American that when we protest racism, some assume we’re protesting America,” Beyonce said. “So, lets be very clear. Colin has always been very respectful of the individuals who selflessly serve and protect our country and our communities and our families. His message is solely focused on social injustice for historically disenfranchised people.”
Graciously accepting his award, Kaepernick delivered quick but unforgettable words about the true message behind his movement.
“I’m beyond humbled to be introduced by [Beyonce] and to be receiving the award named after Muhammad Ali,” Kaepernick said. “I say this fully aware of the importance of the virtues of modesty, humility and forbearance as to their chosen spiritual path. I say this as a person who receives credit for using my platform to protest systemic oppression, racial injustice and the dire consequences of anti-Blackness in America, as if these issues were born when I first began silently protesting police killing unarmed Black and Brown people. I stand on the shoulders of giants.”
Each of this year’s award recipients were recognized for using their sports platforms to inspire and influence their communities in a positive way, as well as for their extraordinary athletic achievements.
The 2017 Sports Illustated SportsPerson of the Year Awards will air nationally on Friday, December 8 on NBCSN.