Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who launched a protest movement last year when he refused to stand for the national anthem before NFL games, was honored Sunday at the ACLU of Southern California’s annual Bill of Rights Dinner in Beverly Hills.
Kaepernick was awarded the Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award, a recognition that was a surprise to event guests, who gave him a standing ovation. His name was not on the star-studded list of honorees released before the banquet that included Hollywood A-listers Jane Fonda, Viola Davis and Judd Apatow.
“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,” Kaepernick told the crowd while accepting the award, according to organizers.
Kaepernick, who turned 30 Sunday, began protesting before games in response to the large number of black men killed by police. His actions ignited a national debate about political activism by athletes.
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