Controversial NFL player Colin Kaepernick was at the ACLU Southern California Bill of Rights Dinner last night, where he was presented with the organization's Courageous Advocate award. The ACLU honored the quarterback for risking his job repeatedly to continue his protests against systemic racism.
Kaepernick accepted the award in his usual humble fashion. At the podium he raised one fist, and many people in the crowd mirrored the gesture. He made a few remarks while he was on stage, all short and eloquent.
"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," Kaepernick said to a round of applause. The football player has made headlines recently, continuing his silent, peaceful protest of kneeling during the national anthem at games in the face of outrage, possible loss of his job, and even the scorn of the President of the United States.
"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," Kaepernick told the guests at the ACLU dinner on Sunday, "With the understanding that human rights cannot be compromised."
Kaepernick ended his speech with a quote that may have been a subtle jab at President Trump.
"In the words of Frederick Douglass," he said, "'if there is no struggle, there is no progress.' "
President Trump was criticized back in February for mentioning Douglass in a speech while apparently having no idea who the historical figure was. Kaepernick may have been trying to invoke that memory for people, after the president has made so many public remarks against Kaepernick and his cause in the past couple of months.