The American Civil Liberties Union honored a handful of Hollywood actors, producers and lifelong activists at its Bill of Rights dinner Sunday, but the person who might have stolen their thunder was the outspoken athlete who has used the field as his pulpit for justice.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the surprise honoree at the event at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, which seeks to honor “civil liberties champions.”
Before presenting “Kap” with the Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award, Southern California ACLU Executive Director Hector Villagra praised him, saying, “Our next honoree took a stand. He took a stand knowing he would risk his job. And he has lost his job, one that he loved and was supremely talented and skilled at.”
With a fist raised, Kaepernick accepted his award and told the crowd who had given him a standing ovation, “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.”
“We must confront systemic oppression as a doctor would a disease,” added Kaepernick. “You identify it, you call it out, you treat it, and you defeat it.”