Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick vowed to fight systemic oppression Sunday after he won the Southern California American Civil Liberties Union’s Courageous Advocate Award.
The organization honored Kaepernick, famous for taking a knee as the national anthem played, for “taking a stand” and being willing to risk his job.
“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,” Southern California ACLU Executive Director Hector Villagra told the crowd.
As Kaepernick walked to the stage, he put his fist in the air. “We 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.
Kaepernick launched a protest in 2016 when he decided to take a knee at football games to protest police brutality and an oppressive system. Other NFL players also joined in recent months, after President Donald Trump criticized the players over Twitter.
“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 said.
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