Loud chants of “USA! USA!” were heard as 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick once again knelt during the national anthem ahead of the football match between San Francisco’s 49ers and Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
Kaepernick’s first match since August — when he refused to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” in protest of racial injustice for the first time — was met with abuse and mockery from many football fans.
The NFL star walked into the field amidst boos and cries of “Your parents didn’t even like you” — which might have been a reference to Kaepernick’s biological mother disagreeing with his stance.
One person was also reportedly escorted off the stadium after trying to throw a bottle at the athlete during the game.
Meanwhile, outside the stadium, vendors sold T-shirts featuring a rifle aimed at a picture of Kaepernick. Others depicted slogans like “Shut Up and Stand Up” or “Hey Colin… While You’re Down There.”
Beer holders were also on sale featuring crude drawings of Kaepernick labeled with “KaeperD**k”
Reporter Robert Klemko shared videos on social media showing drunken football fans erecting a dummy dressed in a Kaepernick’s shirt. They then took turns tackling it amidst shouts of encouragement.
However, not everyone was against the player.
Many Bills fans came equipped to offer their support to Kaepernick. One group even knelt in the parking lot when the anthem started playing while another chanted, “We love you! We see you!” to show solidarity with the athlete.
When asked if his continued protest could be seen as unpatriotic, Kaepernick said, “I don’t understand what’s un-American about fighting for liberty and justice for everybody, for the equality that this country says it stands for. You know, for me I see it as very patriotic and American to uphold the United States to the standard that it says it lives by. You know that’s something that needs to be addressed.”