SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 23: Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on from the sidelines during their NFL game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Levi's Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Despite protest controversy, Colin Kaepernick just won a significant award with the 49ers


Colin Kaepernick has been the most scrutinized quarterback in the NFL this season since he began kneeling for the national anthem in the preseason.

Related: In light of national anthem protests, LeSean McCoy puts things in perspective for Colin Kaepernick 

However, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback was given one of the franchise's most prestigious awards during the team awards ceremony this week. Kaepernick was the recipient of the Len Eshmont Award, which is given to the 49ers who "best exemplifies the inspirational and courageous play of Len Eshmont, an original member of the 1946 49ers team."

The organization considers this award to be the most prestigious honor the players vote on. Several of Kaepernick's teammates defended his decision to kneel for the national anthem, including safety Eric Reid and linebacker Eli Harold. Kaepernick recently thanked his teammates for continuing to support him.

"It's very impactful, and I think they are people who have very strong character," Kaepernick said. "And to have the ability to really recognize what's going on, how it not only affects them, but it affects their families and affects other people that look like them, is something that's very powerful — and I'm very happy to have teammates like that, that have that type of character, that have those type of ethics and humanity."

Kaepernick has started for the majority of the season, and he will start the 49ers' last game of the season against the Seattle Seahawks. He can opt out of his contract after the season. It's worth noting the last two winners of the Eshmont Award were Anquan Boldin and Frank Gore, and both left the franchise after receiving the award.

(h/t ESPN)