*Beyoncé‘s surprise appearance to present former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick with Sports Illustrated’s Muhammad Ali Legacy Award last night has divided Twitter along political and racial lines.
Kaep headlines in 2016 when he started kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality toward people of color. More players joined him, sparking a movement lasting into the 2017 season.
The event took place Tuesday night (Dec. 5) during SI’s 2017 Sportsperson of the Year Show at Barclays Center in NYC. “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah introduced Kaepernick before Bey took the stage to hand him the award.
Beyoncé said that Kaepernick’s message was not to protest America’s men and women in uniform, but to draw attention to the work that still needs to be done in terms of race relations.
“Thank you, Colin Kaepernick,” she said. “Thank you for your selfless heart, and your conviction. Thank you for your personal sacrifice. Colin took action with no fear of consequence or repercussion only hope to change the world for the better. To change perception, to change the way we treat each other, especially people of color.”
After he accepted the award, the former 49ers quarterback said he will continue combating racial injustice in America whether or not he returns to the NFL.
While many folks from the right took to Twitter with threats of canceling their magazine subscriptions over honoring Kaepernick, many were ecstatic to see the NFL free agent receive recognition … and even happier that it was Queen Bey who was chosen to present the honor.
“The picture of Beyoncé and Colin Kaepernick just saved 2017,” said one commenter on Twitter.
Another added, “Conservatives are so outraged that Beyoncé presented that award to Colin Kaepernick but are hush hush about the fact that Donald trump just endorsed an pedophile and sexual abuser for office,” referring to the president’s support for Roy Moore’s candidacy for Senate.
View more reactions below:
Beyonce should leave Jay for Kaep. Imma make a petition rq.
— Knuckles 👻 (@DreamofCeline) December 6, 2017
Beyonce presented Kaep with a Muhammad Ali award…y’all this runs deep for me
— Lauren Trill (@Twiitter_Name) December 6, 2017
Beyoncé presented @Kaepernick7 with the Muhammad Ali award…life is good right now🎗
— ♈ (@TheDarkAries) December 6, 2017