New York, NY – During the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year ceremony on Tuesday (December 5), former NFL quarterback/social activist Colin Kaepernick was presented with the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. Beyoncé, who has also faced backlash for taking a stand against social and racial injustice, delivered the honor to an unsuspecting Kap. Her appearance was a complete surprise.

The Lemonade singer spoke highly of Kap before presenting the athlete with the award. She praised him for both his “selfless heart” and “personal sacrifice,” and made it clear that despite noise from critics, he has always been respectful of those who serve the United States.

“Thank you, Colin Kaepernick. Thank you for your selfless heart and your conviction,” she said. “Thank you for your personal sacrifice. Colin took action with no fear of consequence or repercussion, only hope to change the world for the better. To change perception. To change the way we treat each other, especially people of color. We’re still waiting for the world to catch up. It’s been said that racism is so American that when we protest racism, some assume we’re protesting America.”

Upon accepting the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award, Kap explained that despite his experience with the NFL, he “will continue to work for the people.”

“I accept this award knowing that the legacy of Muhammad Ali is that of a champion of the people,” he said. “And one who was affectionately known as ‘The People’s Champ.’ I accept this award not for myself, but on behalf of the people. Because if it were not for my love for the people, I would not have protested. And if it was not for the support from the people, I would not be on this stage today. With or without the NFL’s platform, I will continue to work for the people because my platform is the people.”