Amsterdam, Netherlands – Former National Football League quarterback Colin Kaepernick said that police killings of black people were “lawful lynchings” as he accepted the Ambassador of Conscience Award from Amnesty International on Saturday.
Amnesty International gave Kaepernick the award for his kneeling during the national anthem in NFL games before he quit the NFL, according to ESPN.
“Racialized oppression and dehumanization is woven into the very fabric of our nation — the effects of which can be seen in the lawful lynching of black and brown people by the police, and the mass incarceration of black and brown lives in the prison industrial complex,” Kaepernick said, according to ESPN.
Free agent Eric Reid presented Kaepernick with the award during the ceremony in Amsterdam. Kaepernick and Reid were two of the most high profile players participating in the national anthem protests.
Neither player has been signed by any NFL teams since they quit to become free agents.
While many insist that kneeling has nothing to do with the national anthem, Kaepernick clarified.
“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?” Kaepernick said at the April 21 award ceremony, according to ESPN.
Amnesty International gives its award each year to a person or organization that is dedicated to fighting injustice and using their talents to inspire others, according to ESPN.
Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty said Kaepernick was “an athlete who is now widely recognized for his activism because of his refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination,” according to ESPN.
Previous winners of the award include Nelson Mandela, who campaigned against apartheid in South Africa.
“In truth, this is an award that I share with all of the countless people throughout the world combating the human rights violations of police officers, and their uses of oppressive and excessive force,” Kaepernick said, according to ESPN.