Watch: Colin Kaepernick honoured by Amnesty International
Amnesty International gave former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick its Ambassador of Conscience Award on Saturday for his kneeling protest of racial injustice that launched a sports movement and might have cost him his job.
Onetime San Francisco 49ers teammate Eric Reid presented Kaepernick with the award during a ceremony in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam.
In his acceptance speech, the award-winner described police killings of African Americans and Latinos in the United States as lawful lynchings.
Kaepernick first took a knee during the pre-game playing of the American national anthem when he was with the 49ers in 2016 to protest police brutality.
"How can you stand for the national anthem of a nation that preaches and propagates, 'freedom and justice for all,' that is so unjust to so many of the people living there?" he said at Saturday's award ceremony.
Other players joined his protest in the 2016 season, drawing the ire of US President Donald Trump, who called for team owners to fire such players.
In response to the player demonstrations, the NFL agreed to commit 90 million US dollars over the next seven years to social justice causes in a plan.
Kaepernick wasn't signed for the 2017 season following his release in San Francisco.
Reid, a safety who is now a free agent, continued Kaepernick's protests by kneeling during the anthem last season.
Reid has said he will take a different approach in 2018.
Amnesty hands its award each year to a person or organization, "dedicated to fighting injustice and using their talents to inspire others."
Previous recipients of the award include anti-Apartheid campaigner and South African President Nelson Mandela and Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who campaigned for girls' right to education even after surviving being shot by Taliban militants.