Beyonce on Tuesday presented National Football League (NFL) free agent Colin Kaepernick with Sports Illustrated's Muhammad Ali Legacy Award.
The singer’s surprise appearance featured her honoring Kaepernick’s longstanding protest during the national anthem.
“His message is solely focused on social injustice for historically disenfranchised people,” Beyonce said.
“Let’s not get that mistaken,” she added at the Barclay’s Center in New York City.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m so proud and humbled to present the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award to Colin Kaepernick.”
Kaepernick then emerged to loud applause before explaining why he began kneeling during “The Star-Spangled Banner” in 2016.
“I accept this award not for myself, but on behalf of the people,” he said. “Because if it was not for my love of the people, I would not have protested.”
“And if it was not for the support of the people, I would not be on this stage today,” the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback added.
“With or without the NFL’s platform, I will continue to work for the people, because my platform is the people.”
“Sports Illustrated” named Kaepernick as the recipient of the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award – which is named after the professional boxer and social activist – last week.
“Each year SI and the Ali family honor a figure who embodies the ideals of sportsmanship, leadership and philanthropy and has used sports as a platform for changing the world,” the magazine said.
“Sports Illustrated” said that it selected Kaepernick for the honor due to “his steadfastness in the fight for social justice, [and] for his adherence to his beliefs no matter the cost.”
Kaepernick remains unsigned by a NFL team over a year since he began kneeling during the national anthem.
The quarterback began performing the move to demonstrate against America’s racial injustice and police brutality.
Scores of other NFL employees and professional athletes in other sports have since imitated Kaepernick’s gesture.
President Trump has repeatedly criticized the move this year, however, arguing it is unpatriotic and disrespects America’s military forces.