OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - The NFL Players Association named Colin Kaepernick the 2017 week one winner of the Community MVP award for “his commitment to empowering underserved communities,” despite him not being on an NFL team right now.
Last season Kaepernick chose to not stand during the national anthem, citing that he wasn’t going to honor the flag for a country that oppresses people of color. He opted out of his contract with the 49ers and wasn’t picked up by any other team. Talk of his extended free agency is skewed toward the idea that it’s not related to his performance on the field.
And despite a mixed array of support and bashing, the association saw him fit for an award that recognizes the very efforts that were born out of the motion that may be keeping him unemployed.
“For being named this week’s Community MVP, the NFLPA will make a $10,000 contribution to Kaepernick’s foundation or charity of choice along with an in-kind donation to him on behalf of our supporting partner Delta Private Jets,” the association said on Friday.
This is the first time a free agent has won the award. To be eligible, one must still be paying dues to the association and either is on a NFL roster or actively seeking employment as a free agent.
During the rise of the non-stance movement last season, Kaepernick vowed to donate one million dollars. To date, he’s contributed $900,000. The accolade he received for this work puts him in a pool with a chance to be honored again this season.
“Kaepernick, along with the other 2017 Community MVPs, will also become eligible for this year’s Byron Whizzer White Award, which is the highest honor that the NFLPA can bestow upon a player,” the association said.