Beyoncé made a surprise appearance Tuesday night at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center to present the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award to former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year Awards.
Kaepernick launched the "take-a-knee" movement to protest racial inequality and police brutality in 2016 during NFL games when he was still playing for the San Francisco 49ers.
"Colin took action with no fear of consequence or repercussion, only hope to change the world for the better," she said. "To change perception, to change the way we treat each other, especially people of color. We’re still waiting for the world to catch up."
The quarterback, who has not played in the NFL this season, was humbled to get the award from the singer.
“I accept this award not for myself, but on behalf of the people," he said. "Because if it were not for my love of the people, I would not have protested. And if it was not for the support from the people, I would not be on this stage today. With or without the NFL's platform, I will continue to work for the people because my platform is the people."
Beyoncé's support for the controversial quarterback has attracted quite a reaction on social media, with some saying that she "has disrespected this country" and calling her a "disgrace."
But plenty of others are more supportive of the superstar, who made waves with her politically charged halftime performance at the 2016 Super Bowl when she debuted “Formation” during a guest appearance with Coldplay and Bruno Mars.
“The picture of Beyoncé and Colin Kaepernick just saved 2017,” went one tweet.
On Wednesday, Kaepernick took to Twitter to thank Sports Illustrated again for the award.
The awards were taped Tuesday night and will air Friday on NBCSN and Saturday on Univision Deportes Network.