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Colin Kaepernick start comes on 48th anniversary of Mexico City Olympics black power salute

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The San Francisco 49ers lost an ugly one to the Buffalo Bills 45-16. The game marked Colin Kaepernick’s first start for the team since Week 8 of the 2015 season. He had some big moments, primarily running the ball, but he also dealt with a lot of inconsistency throwing the ball. He should get another start, but we’ll have to wait for a formal announcement from the team.

Football aside, the timing of the start was actually kind of an unexpected big deal. Kaepernick October 16 start comes 48 years to the day after John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised their fist in the black power salute at the Mexico City Olympics.

That demonstration was in protest of the treatment of people of color in America and around the world. Kaepernick’s own protest is for similar reasons.

Kaepernick arrived at the game wearing a Muhammad Ali t-shirt. He had that on in his post-game press conference, and got several questions about it, and his protest.

There were numerous people in Buffalo protesting and offering up critiques of Kaepernick’s protest. Someone outside the stadium was selling t-shirts with a rifle scope over Kaepernick. There was a dummy set up with a Kaepernick jersey and afro wig, with people yelling “Tackle the Muslim” before someone ran and hit the dummy.

Kaepernick received quite a few boos when he went on the field for the 49ers first drive. Prior to that, while he, Eli Harold, and Eric Reid took a knee during the National Anthem, there was a U-S-A chant. After the game, someone asked Kaepernick about that, and the implication that he was not being sufficiently patriotic with his protest. Kaepernick offer this in response

“I don’t understand what’s more American than fighting for liberty and justice for everybody, for the equality this country says it stands for. To me I see it as very patriotic and American to uphold the United States to the standards it says it lives by. That’s something that needs to be addressed.”

You can read the full transcript here, courtesy of Cam Inman. I did not realize until late that this was the anniversary of the black power salute, so there were no questions about the timing.