Colin Kaepernick shown in crosshairs as 49ers QB makes first start of 2016

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Buffalo Bills

Colin Kaepernick made his return as a starter for the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, although he received a far from warm welcome in Buffalo as he took on the Bills.

Kaepernick continued his protest against racial inequality in the United States by kneeling during the national anthem, an action that his critics have called unpatriotic. That hostility was on show outside the stadium, where t-shirts were on sale depicting the quarterback in the crosshairs of a rifle. The caption on the shirt read: “Wanted: Notorious Disgrace to America”.

Shouts of “USA, USA,” rang out around New Era Field as Kaepernick knelt and the quarterback was roundly booed as he made his first start since last season. He completed his first touchdown pass of 2016 early in the second quarter, finding Torrey Smith with a deep ball for a 53-yard TD. That proved to be the high point for Kaepernick, however, as the 49ers ended up on the wrong end of a 45-16 scoreline. Kaepernick completed just 13 of his 29 pass attempts but was more effective with his legs, rushing for 66 yards.

There was some support for Kaepernick in Buffalo, with a small group of Bills fans staging a “kneel in” outside the stadium. “That’s huge,” Kaepernick said after the game. “I think it’s something that, once again, people are realizing that these are real issues that affect many people. It’s something that has to be addressed. Until us as people recognize and address that some of us have privilege, some of us don’t and some of us are able to do certain things without consequences and others of us can’t. Those are all things that need to be addressed.

“Me as a black man that plays football and is considered a celebrity, I’m treated differently than a black man that’s working 9 to 5 in the ‘hood. That’s just the reality of it. It shouldn’t be that I’m treated differently than that person or he’s treated differently than me. We’re human beings, and it should be something that everybody is treated that way.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Guardian sport, for theguardian.com on Sunday 16th October 2016 19.04 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

 

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