Colin Kaerpenick may not be this year’s MVP, but to his teammates he is definitely the MCP. Most Courageous Player that is.
The San Francisco 49ers team voted to give Kaepernick the Len Eshmont Award, given to the 49er who “best exemplifies the inspirational and courageous play of Len Eshmont, an original member of the 1946 49ers team.”
Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem as a silent protest against police brutality against people of color inspired his team to give him the award, which is considered the most prestigious honor the players vote on.
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Kaepernick’s demonstration quickly became a national story that attracted both opposition and support. Other NFL players, and athletes in other sports, began to take a knee in support of his message.
‘It’s very impactful, and I think they are people who have very strong character,” Kaepernick said of his teammates who took a knee with him. “And to have the ability to really recognize what’s going on, how it not only affects them, but it affects their families and affects other people that look like them, is something that’s very powerful — and I’m very happy to have teammates like that, that have that type of character, that have those type of ethics and humanity.”
The award also squashes any doubt that his choice to protest brought team division, a point his detractors liked to use against him.
Congratulations Kaepernick for an award well-earned.