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Sports Illustrated honors Colin Kaepernick with prestigious Ali Award

December 1, 2017 Updated: December 1, 2017 at 9:54 am
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photo - FILE - In this Oct. 2, 2016 file photo, San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, left, and safety Eric Reid kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara, Calif.  The 49ers won't be forcing their players to stand during the national anthem, safety Eric Reid said Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017. Reid, the first player to join Colin Kaepernick in protest last season, said he had a conversation recently with 49(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 2, 2016 file photo, San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, left, and safety Eric Reid kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara, Calif. The 49ers won't be forcing their players to stand during the national anthem, safety Eric Reid said Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017. Reid, the first player to join Colin Kaepernick in protest last season, said he had a conversation recently with 49(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File) 

In a move that will inspire support and most likely even more opposition, Sports Illustrated has named former 49ers quarterback - and NFL outcast - Colin Kaepernick as the 2017 winner of the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award.

Expect applause from those who support Kaepernick and his cause. Expect boycotts of the magazine from those who oppose Kaepernick, who led the 49ers to two NFC title games and one Super Bowl. (He threw 16 touchdowns against only four interceptions last season.)

Kaepernick remains an unemployed quarterback.

Here's an excerpt from the SI story by Michael Rosenberg:

In the last 16 months, Kaepernick’s truth has been twisted, distorted and used for political gain. It has cost him at least a year of his NFL career and the income that should have come with it. But still, it is his truth. He has not wavered from it. He does not regret speaking it. He has caused millions of people to examine it. And, quietly, he has donated nearly a million dollars to support it.

For all those reasons—for his steadfastness in the fight for social justice, for his adherence to his beliefs no matter the cost—Colin Kaepernick is the recipient of the 2017 Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. Each year SI and the Ali family honor a figure who embodies the ideals of sportsmanship, leadership and philanthropy and has used sports as a platform for changing the world. “I am proud to be able to present this to Colin for his passionate defense of social justice and civil rights for all people,” says Lonnie Ali, Muhammad’s widow. “Like Muhammad, Colin is a man who stands on his convictions with confidence and courage, undaunted by the personal sacrifices he has had to make to have his message heard. And he has used his celebrity and philanthropy to the benefit of some of our most vulnerable community members.”

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