NEW YORK – Beyonce presented Colin Kaepernick with the Muhammad Ali Legacy Sports Illustrated Award on Tuesday night, and Kaepernick promised that "with or without the NFL platform, I will continue working for the people."
Beyonce was introduced as a surprise presenter by comedian Trevor Noah. She said she was "proud and honored" to present the award, given to "former athletes and sports figures who embody the ideals of sportsmanship, leadership and philanthropy as vehicles to change the world."
"Colin took action without fear of consequence or repercussion," Beyonce said. "I just hope to change the world for the better, change the perception, change the way we treat each other, especially people of color."
The winner of last year's Ali Prize, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, called Kaepernick "a valuable recipient" during a video tribute.
"He embraced the full risk of his career to remind Americans of the systemic racism that denied African Americans their opportunities for equal education, work, health and even their lives, "said Abdul Jabbar said.
Kaepernick began to kneel during the national anthem last season to protest against racial inequality and the police brutality The demonstration sparked a wave of protests from NFL players during the anthem that has been repeatedly denounced by President Donald Trump.
Kaepernick split from the San Francisco 49ers in March and has not been signed by another team He filed a complaint against the NFL in October alleging that it remains unsigned as a result of the owners' collusion after their protests.  He spoke on Tuesday about continuing Ali's legacy of fighting social injustice, saying that the boxer "guided me without knowing"
Colin Kaepernick received the Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate prize for the surprise of an audience full of stars in the ACLU of the annual Southern California law. Dinner of rights in Beverly Hills.
"The prints he leaves are great," said Kaepernick, "and his life is and has been a tapestry of multiple textures that is rich in love, wisdom, lessons of life and human kindness, I can only hope to take steps to follow the steps he left behind for the world to follow him. "
Kaepernick jumped the red carpet before the show and was not available for questions. The awards ceremony will air Friday night on NBC Sports Network.
Kaepernick was also recently honored by the ACLU of Southern California with the Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award and was named "Citizen of the Year" by GQ magazine for his activism, which included the $ 1 million pledge to "organizations who work in oppressed communities. "
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.