Kaepernick Will Receive Harvard Medal For Social Justice Work

Neetu Chandak | Education and Politics Reporter

Harvard University announced Thursday that activist and former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick will receive the university’s highest honor in African and African-American studies for his social justice work.

Kaepernick, 30, is one of eight recipients of the W. E. B. Du Bois Medal, according to The Harvard Gazette Thursday.

“In the year of the 150th anniversary of his birth, W. E. B. Du Bois would be proud of the eight individuals being recognized at this year’s Hutchins Center Honors,” Henry Louise Gates Jr., Director of the Hutchins Center, said in a statement given to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Emerging from a variety of backgrounds and professions, each represents the quest for knowledge, freedom of expression, and pursuit of truth that are foundational to black history and culture, and that were foundational to Du Bois as a thinker and activist.”

Kaepernick is known for taking a knee during the national anthem at NFL games to protest police brutality against black individuals. He has not played in the NFL since 2017, when he got out of his contract with the 49ers, SportsMax reported Friday.

He also became the face of Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign for its 30th anniversary.

“And, in a recent highly publicized endorsement deal with Nike — Believe in Something. Even if it Means Sacrificing Everything — the company has agreed to donate to Kaepernick’s ‘Know Your Rights’ nonprofit organization,” The Gazette reported.

Know Your Rights” is non-profit organization by Kaepernick that focuses on higher education and teaching people how to interact with law enforcement properly.

Kaepernick’s lawyers claimed the NFL was purposefully trying to keep him out of the organization “in retaliation for Mr. Kaepernick’s leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice and his bringing awareness to peculiar institutions still undermining racial equality in the United States,” according to a grievance filed in 2017. (RELATED: Missouri College Nukes Nike Deal — ‘If Nike Is Ashamed Of America, We Are Ashamed Of Them’)

Past recipients of the award include poet Maya Angelou and boxer Muhammad Ali, according to SportMax.

The award will be given Oct. 11 and is part of the Sixth Annual Hutchins Center Honors, according to The Gazette. The ceremony is presented by the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, which focuses on research related to the culture and history of people of African descent.

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