ACLU honors Kaepernick with courageous advocate award

Colin Kaepernick was honored Sunday with an award by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Kaepernick received the Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award at the ACLU of Southern California's Bill of Rights Dinner in Beverly Hills.

Kaepernick said during remarks at the event that the U.S. "must confront systemic oppression as a doctor would a disease."

"You identify it, you call it out, you treat it and you defeat it," he said, to applause.

"We all have an obligation no matter the risk, and regardless of reward, to stand up for our fellow men and women who are being oppressed with the understanding that human rights cannot be compromised."
 
The executive director of the ACLU of Southern California lauded Kaepernick for taking a stand "knowing he would risk his job," according to CNN.
 
"And he has lost his job, one that he loved and was supremely talented and skilled at," Hector Villagra said. "He took a stand knowing that some would criticize him, and he has been viciously and unfairly criticized. He has been called a traitor because too many people in this country confuse dissent for disloyalty."
 
According to the Los Angeles Times, Kaepernick's honor was a surprise to attendees.
 
Kaepernick in 2016 became the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem before games. He said he was protesting police brutality and racial injustice.
 
Earlier this year, the issue was thrust back into the spotlight after President Trump attacked NFL players who protest during the anthem. Following the president's comments, multiple players began kneeling during the anthem and several coaches spoke out against Trump's remarks.
 
Trump then called for the NFL to implement a rule requiring that players stand during the anthem, saying their actions were disrespectful to the flag and soldiers.
 
Earlier this year, Kaepernick signed a book deal, reportedly worth just more than $1 million.
 
Kaepernick was also named "Citizen of the Year" by GQ and is the recipient of the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. He was also featured on the short list for Time magazine's "Person of the Year."