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Tensions flare in Buffalo as Colin Kaepernick starts at quarterback

The game was only half the battle.


Miles Klee


Posted on Oct 16, 2016   Updated on May 25, 2021, 7:13 pm CDT

This article contains explicit content.

For the first time since he stirred national debate by kneeling for the national anthem to protest racial injustice, Colin Kaepernick on Sunday took to a football field as the San Fancisco 49ers’ starting quarterback. 

He joined the lineup for an away matchup against Buffalo that was bound to stoke tensions outside the stadium as well as inside it. It was painfully clear from the outset that tailgating Bills fans had taken sides in the ongoing controversy, with many in the anti-Kaepernick camp sporting questionable T-shirts, signs, and slogans. Some images even put the guy in crosshairs, and one group was observed tackling an effigy with an Afro.

He of course knelt during the anthem, triggering further crowd response.

Led by Kaepernick, the 49ers offense looked solid in the first half, with the backup quarterback going 8-of-11, including a 53-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Torrey Smith. But despite outscoring Buffalo initially, the Bills continued to run roughshod over the 49ers defense, heading into halftime ahead 17-13. Win or lose, it could get ugly in the parking lot afterward. Especially considering stuff like this happened before the game:

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When will Kaepernick quit soiling the dignity of a sport whose fans chug beer out of each other’s butts? That’s anyone’s guess, really.  

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*First Published: Oct 16, 2016, 8:45 am CDT