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Beyonce surprises Colin Kaepernick with the si’s Muhammad Ali award

Beyonce presents Colin Kaepernick with the SI Muhammad Ali Legacy Award during the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED 2017 Athlete of the Year Show on December 5, 2017 at Barclays Center in New York City.

(Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated)

Beyonce made a surprise appearance to present Colin Kaepernick with Sports Illustrated’s Muhammad Ali Legacy Award on Tuesday night.

Beyonce said she was “proud and humbled” to present the award.

“Colin took action with no fear of consequence or repercussion,” Beyonce said. “The only hope to change the world for the better. To change the perception, change the way we treat each other. Especially people of color.”

By accepting the prize, Kaepernick promised: “with or without the NFL platform, I will continue to work for the people.”

Last year Ali Award-winner, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the so-called Kaepernick a “worthy recipient” during a video tribute.

“He fully embraced the chance to get his career in order to remind the Americans of the systemic racism that was denying the African Americans their opportunities for equal education, employment, health and even their lives,” Abdul-Jabbar said.

Colin Kaepernick accepts the SI Muhammad Ali Legacy Award during the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED 2017 Athlete of the Year Show on December 5, 2017 at Barclays Center in New York City.

(Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated)

Kaepernick began to kneel down during the national anthem last season to protest against racial inequality and police brutality. The demonstration led to a wave of protests by the NFL players during the national anthem, which has repeatedly claimed by President Donald Trump.

Kaepernick parted ways with the San Francisco 49ers in March and has not yet been signed by another team. He filed a complaint against the NFL in October and claimed that he remains unsigned as a result of collusion by the owners following the protests.

He spoke Tuesday about the continuation of Ali’s legacy of fighting social injustice, and says that the boxing great “guide me without ever meeting me.”

“The footprints he leaves are large,” Kaepernick said, “and that his life, and is a multi-woven carpet that is rich in love, wisdom, life lessons and human kindness. I can only hope that I am taking steps in the direction of the walk on the trail that he has left for the world to follow.”

Kaepernick skipped on the red carpet prior to the show and was not available for questions. The awards show will be broadcast on Friday night on NBC Sports Network.

Kaepernick also was recently honored by the ACLU of Southern California with the Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award and was named GQ magazine’s “Burger of the Year” for his activism, which included the pledge of $1 million to “organizations working in oppressed communities.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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