Colin Kaepernick GQ cover

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Colin Kaepernick delivers rare speech: ‘We must confront systemic oppression’

The civil rights activist is a finalist for ‘Time’ Person of the Year.


Tess Cagle


Colin Kaepernick attended the ACLU of SoCal’s Bill of Rights dinner Sunday night to receive the Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate award. The award preceded the news that Kaepernick has also been named a finalist for Time‘s Person of the Year. 

ACLU Executive Director Hector Villagra told the crowd Sunday evening that Kaepernick earned the award because of his unwavering protest against racial inequality, despite the impact it had on his football career.

“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,” Villagra said. “He took a stand knowing that some would criticize him and he has been viciously and unfairly criticized.”

After accepting the award, the free agent quarterback and civil rights advocate gave a brief speech to the attendees.

We must confront systemic oppression as a doctor would a disease,” he said. “You identify it, you call it out, you treat it and you defeat it. 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.”

Kaepernick finished his speech with a quote from Frederick Douglass, an African-American abolitionist and social reformer from the 1800s:

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”

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