Colin Kaepernick wins prestigious award voted on by 49ers' teammates

If there was ever any question about whether or not Colin Kaepernick's decision to kneel for the national anthem was a divisive issue in the 49ers' locker room, that question was answered this week with a resounding no.

The quarterback was named the winner of the team's Len Eshmont award on Friday, which is the most prestigious team award that the 49ers hand out each season. The award was voted on by San Francisco players and is given to the 49er who "best exemplifies the inspirational and courageous play of Len Eshmont," according to the team's website.

The award was established in 1957 after Eshmont died. Eshmont was a member of the 49ers' first team in 1946, and spent four seasons with the team before moving on to a coaching career at Navy and Virginia.

By winning the Eshmont Award, Kaepernick joins a hallowed list of past 49ers players who have been given the award that includes Joe Montana, Steve Young, Roger Craig and Jerry Rice.

Not only was this Kaepernick's first time winning the award, but it was also his first time winning any team award during his six seasons in San Francisco.

Kaepernick has been a controversial figure in the NFL this year after he decided in August the he would be kneeling during the national anthem as a way to protest racial injustice. Although many people -- including NFL commissioner Roger Goodell -- disagreed with Kaepernick's form of protest, his decision never appeared to become an issue in the 49ers locker room.

Back in October, offensive lineman Joe Staley said Kaepernick's protest wasn't causing any kind of divide in the locker room.

"I feel the locker room is really close," Staley told CSN Bay Area. "I don't feel any of that division people from the outside are saying at all. I wouldn't need to tell you if there was. I think any kind of division like that is pretty evident. I don't think that's going on at all."

As for Kaepernick, he said on Wednesday that staying focused this season hasn't been that difficult for him, despite the controversy.

"When I step into this building my focus is football and what I have to do to try to win and try to help this team win and I think our players, our coaches all have that same mentality," Kaepernick said. "So, to me it's an easy environment to come into and work and make sure you're staying focused on that."

You can see a complete of list of who won each team award in San Francisco by clicking here.

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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