Former National Football League (NFL) player Colin Kaepernick has been shortlisted for a community service work award.
The ex-quarterback and four other players are finalists for the NFL Players Association’s (NFLPA) Byron “Whizzer” White Community MVP award, according to NBC Sports. Surprisingly, Kaepernick was named a nominee after spending the entire season as a free agent. Contrastingly, the NFL announced, on Tuesday, its “Let’s Listen Together” campaign – which was launched to highlight a commitment to social justice and equality, but without a single reference to Kaepernick.
The campaign to highlight the NFL’s commitment will be promoted by TV spots, digital and social media.
The dormant quarterback has kept active with his 100 Suits for 100 Men program as well as his 10 for 10 campaign – which has led to a donation of $1 million to fight oppression through education and social activism.
The former San Fransisco 49ers is joined by Cincinnati Bengals' Andy Dalton, Denver Broncos' Von Miller, Philadelphia Eagles' Chris Long and Houston Texans' J.J. Watt as finalists for the award. Watt's social media campaign generated over $37 million in disaster relief for Houston after Hurricane Harvey. While Dalton and his wife provide financial assistance to families of seriously ill and physically challenged children through the Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation.
The others: Long donated his entire 2017 salary to educational initiatives, and Miller donated 2,013 eyeglass frames to Denver youngsters through the Anchor Center for Blind Children and his Von's Vision Foundation.
The award honors players for their contribution to the community and recognizes a player each week over the season. After the winner is chosen, the NFLPA will donate $100,000 to that player's foundation or a charity of choice. The other four finalists getting $10,000 each.
The winner will be announced Feb. 1 at the NFLPA's annual Super Bowl news conference.
Kaepernick won the NFLPA’s “Community MVP” award during Week 1 of the 2017 season, after donating $100,000 to four charities and holding a back-to-school backpack giveaway in New York City. He previously pledged a combined $1 million to various charities during the 2016 season.
Kaepernick has received multiple awards recognizing him for his service, including Sports Illustrated’s Muhammad Ali Legacy Award and GQ Magazine’s “Citizen of the Year” for 2017.
The social justice activist has been unemployed since taking a knee, during the national anthem, to protest police brutality and racial injustice across the United States.
U.S. President Donald Trump attacked Kaepernick and colleagues for kneeling, suggesting that the act is disrespectful to the anthem and by extension the nation.
Kaepernick recently filed a grievance against NFL owners last year accusing them of colluding to exclude him from the league.