For the first time since he began his protest against racial injustice in the U.S. by kneeling during the national anthem, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started a regular-season game Sunday against the Bills. As expected, some fans who clearly do not agree with his protest are not giving him a warm welcome at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo.
They showed up with some vulgar and inappropriate signs, including one that depicted a gun target on Kaepernick's chest. Here are a few:
well, we knew Kaepernick playing in Buffalo was going to be interesting pic.twitter.com/z4ed89s0d3— Mike Tunison (@xmasape) October 16, 2016
One of few anti Kaepernick signs.— Thad Brown (@thadbrown7) October 16, 2016
Also, apparently anti-spelling.
(Unless it's a colon cancer reference)#Bills#49erspic.twitter.com/8I69jOVWWn
Well.... pic.twitter.com/quv7hmfrhW— Joe Yerdon (@JoeYerdon) October 16, 2016
Guy says he's showing disrespect to Kaepernick by misspelling his name pic.twitter.com/ctShf5crUB— Nick Veronica (@NickVeronica) October 16, 2016
"@RobertKlemko: Here's a Bills fan spearing a dummy with Kaepernick jersey and afro wig. pic.twitter.com/aUU3Nae9j5"#BillsMafia ready!— Mike Sweeney (@M_Sween7) October 16, 2016
Some fans, however, showed their support for Kaepernick.
Photos from tailgate of #Bills fans supporting #Kaepernick#49erspic.twitter.com/sEbmtShJon— Nick Wojton (@Nick_Wojton) October 16, 2016
#Bills fans leading march in support of Kaepernick. They plan to kneel while the anthem is played. #49erspic.twitter.com/vGumORFit4— Nick Veronica (@NickVeronica) October 16, 2016
On his part, Kaepernick showed up wearing a Muhammad Ali shirt.
Colin Kaepernick arrives to the stadium wearing a Muhammad Ali shirt. pic.twitter.com/ep1bZKTiOa— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) October 16, 2016
He also signed autographs for some fans.
RT @haprusak: Colin Kaepernick signs autographs pregame. @WGRZpic.twitter.com/S9XLbPjBzO— Flint (@Yo_Gillie) October 16, 2016
Kaepernick's protest began in the preseason, when he started sitting down for the national anthem. Eventually, he began kneeling after meeting with former Green Beret Nate Boyer, who briefly played for the Seahawks. He also pledged $1 million to charities that help communities in need. Since his protest began, he's inspired several players around the league to join in.
And finally, he'll get his chance to play. The 49ers benched Blaine Gabbert earlier in the week and handed the starting job to Kaepernick, who also restructured his contract with the team. In effect, Kaepernick's contract is essentially a one-year deal with a player option after the season.
Before the game, Kaepernick continued his protest by kneeling.
Cop stood behind Kaepernick during the anthem and saluted pic.twitter.com/eIp3bwFk79— Mike Tunison (@xmasape) October 16, 2016
You can follow his first start with our GameTracker here.