JAY-Z has been not so subtly demonstrating his support for unemployed, controversial NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in recent months. He wore Kaep’s San Francisco 49ers jersey on SNL, and even reportedly turned down the Super Bowl Halftime Show in solidarity with #7. Now, JAY’s wife, Beyoncé, has also shown she stands with the kneeling QB by presenting him with Sports Illustrated’s Muhammad Ali Legacy Award.
Bey made a surprise appearance at SI’s Sportsperson of the Year ceremony on Tuesday to honor Kaepernick with the award. “Thank you for your personal sacrifice,” she said during her speech. “Colin took action with no fear of consequence or repercussion — only hope to change the world for the better. To change perception. To change the way we treat each other — especially people of color. We’re still waiting for the world to catch up.”
Watch a clip of Beyoncé’s appearance below. The entire ceremony will air this Friday on NBC Sports Network.
Chosen by the magazine and the Ali family, the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award is given to an individual “who embodies the ideals of sportsmanship, leadership and philanthropy and has used sports as a platform for changing the world.” Kaepernick has essentially been blackballed by the NFL after starting the polarizing act of kneeling during the national anthem at football games in protest of racial inequality. While lesser talents are still in the league, Kaep has remained unsigned since March, spending his time protesting, as he put it, “systematic oppression, racial injustice, and the dire consequences of anti-blackness in America.”
Though the QB still might not have a job — he filed a grievance with the NFL in October accusing team owners of colluding to keep him unsigned — he’s getting plenty of recognition for his stance. Other players around the league have joined in on the protest, and artists like Lin-Manuel Miranda and Stevie Wonder have demonstrated their solidarity. Kaepernick also recently received the Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award from the ACLU of Southern California and GQ named him the Citizen of the Year for his activism, which has included donating nearly $1 million to “organizations working in oppressed communities.”