Nevada alum Colin Kaepernick will be one of five people honored as the 2020 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope award laureates, it was announced Thursday.
Kaepernick played for the Wolf Pack football team from 2007-10 before a successful NFL career, which was derailed after his took a knee during the national anthem prior to games in 2016 to protest against police brutality against minorities, a cause that has gripped the country since George Floyd's murder in May.
Despite his strong résumé, Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since that season and is now a leading human rights activist and co-founder of the Know Your Rights Camp, a civil rights program.
"In 2017, I was in the audience honoring Mr. Harry Belafonte as he accepted the Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award," Kaepernick said in a news release. "I am humbled to follow the footsteps of individuals like Mr. B and to be in the company of all the other laureates. Thank you for this prestigious award."
Joining Kaepernick in the honor will be Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert who has been one of America's leading voices of information during the COVID-19 pandemic; as well as Dolores Huerta, president and founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation; Paypal president and CEO Dan Schulman; and DocuSign CEO Dan Springer.
Past Ripple of Hope laureates include Barack Obama, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis.
"Our country is yearning for leadership, for moral fortitude, for common decency and kindness, and this year's Ripple of Hope laureates give us great hope for the future," said Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. "Their work for equal justice touches every corner of society, sometimes at great personal cost. We are deeply honored to celebrate these changemakers, who have set forth countless ripples of hope at a time when our world is in such need of inspiration."
The ceremony is typically held in person, but the gala this year will be hosted virtually on Dec. 10 in honor of National Human Rights Day.
In addition to this honor, Kaepernick also has earned the following accolades:
* 2017 GQ Magazine Citizen of the Year
* 2017 Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award
* 2017 American Civil Liberties Union Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award
* 2017 Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship honoree
* 2018 Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award
* 2018 Harvard University W. E. B. Du Bois Medal