Colin Kaepernick honored with Amnesty International award
© Getty Images

Amnesty International has awarded civil rights activist and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick with its top award.

Kaepernick was presented Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2018 in the Netherlands on Saturday.

“The Ambassador of Conscience award celebrates the spirit of activism and exceptional courage, as embodied by Colin Kaepernick. He is an athlete who is now widely recognized for his activism because of his refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination,” said Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty International.


Kaepernick first gained widespread attention in 2016 when he began kneeling during the national anthem before NFL games as a way to protest racial injustice against African-Americans. In the same year, Kaepernick also pledged to donate one million dollars to organizations that help oppressed communities.

His protests led a number of other players to do the same and triggered a backlash that included President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussia's election interference is a problem for the GOP Pence to pitch trade deal during trip to Michigan: report Iran oil minister: US made 'bad mistake' in ending sanctions waivers MORE.

“I watched Colin Kaepernick, and I thought it was terrible, and then it got bigger and bigger and started mushrooming, and frankly the NFL should have suspended him for one game, and he would have never done it again,” Trump told Fox News last October.

“This is an award that I share with all of the countless people throughout the world combating the human rights violations of police officers, and their uses of oppressive and excessive force," Kaepernick said. “To quote Malcolm X, when he said that he, ‘will join in with anyone — I don’t care what color you are — as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth,’ I am here to join with you all in this battle against police violence.”