By Liam Grace
Last Updated: 12/10/18 9:47am
Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick has called for more protests against racial injustice, during a speech at Harvard University where he received an award for his contribution to black history and culture.
Kaepernick was one of eight recipients of the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal honoured on Thursday afternoon by the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research.
Free agent Kaepernick, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers, began kneeling during the American national anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality and social injustice. He has not played since January 2017.
Thank you Harvard University for honoring me tonight with the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal. I’m grateful for this recognition and to be amongst the other highly esteemed honorees that inspire me.
Photo Credit: Amari Kenoly @foot_candles pic.twitter.com/plXOBuwBlF
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) October 12, 2018
The 30-year-old is suing the NFL, claiming he has been frozen out of the league by team owners because of his activism.
“I feel like it’s not only my responsibility, but all our responsibilities as people that are in positions of privilege, in positions of power, to continue to fight for them and uplift them, empower them,” he said.
“Because if we don’t we become complicit in the problem.
“Love is at the root of our resistance, people live with social injustice every single day, and we expect them to thrive in situations where they’re just trying to survive.”
Kaepernick fronted Nike’s 30th anniversary of their ‘Just Do It’ slogan in a high-profile advert campaign in September.
The advert polarised customers, with some opting to burn their Nike products in protest.
However, many hailed Kaepernick, and NFL spokeswoman Jocelyn Moore said in September: “The National Football League believes in dialogue, understanding and unity.
“We embrace the role and responsibility of everyone involved with this game to promote meaningful, positive, change in our communities.
“The social injustice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action.”
Past honourees include Muhammad Ali, Maya Angelou and Sonia Sotomayor.