Colin Kaepernick Honors Muhammad Ali While T-Shirt with Rifle Scope on Him Sold Outside Stadium

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Colin Kaepernick (Facebook)
Colin Kaepernick (Facebook)

Colin Kaepernick’s Muhammad Ali shirt could not protect him from the rifle target-themed tee bought by football fans Sunday in New York.

The starting quarterback faced many unsupportive fans as he and the San Francisco 49ers arrived to play the Buffalo Bills Oct. 16.

Kaepernick donned an Ali shirt, which pointed to the political nature of both athletes during their careers. At a press conference, Kaepernick explained he wore the shirt “to pay homage.”

“He fought a very similar fight,” he said. “And was trying to do what’s right for the people. And for me to be able to have someone like that come before me – it’s huge.”

Kaepernick’s arrival sparked vitriol among Bills fans. A Sports Illustrated writer tweeted images of threatening shirts about Kaepernick sold outside New Era Field.

One featured a rifle scope trained on the protesting NFLer, and another had Kaepernick’s kneeling silhouette with the caption, “Shut up and Stand Up” with an expletive-laden take on his name.

The shirt takes aim at Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem to protest the oppression of Black lives.  Each item sold for $10.

An intoxicated Bills fan who dressed a dummy in the 49ers player’s jersey and an Afro wig added to the disdain for Kaepernick. The man tackled the dummy as the American flag waved from behind.

However, a group of fans supported the 49er by kneeling during the national anthem. According to a Facebook event page for Kneel for Racial Justice at the Bills Game, fans gathered at a tailgate to back Kaepernick. They also protested police brutality against Black Americans.

“We’re still Bills fans,” one organizer, Caitlin Blue, told USA Today. “We just recognize the NFL uses Black and brown bodies for entertainment, as long as they don’t have opinions.”

In Harper Bishop’s Facebook video, participants took a knee outside the stadium during the national anthem. Some locked arms and others raised their fists.

“Buffalo, New York is one of the poorest and most segregated cities in the country with a deeply racist history,” Bishop wrote in the video caption. “The action was meant to bring attention to local racial justice fights, support Kaepernick and inspire others around the country to continue demonstrations of support.”

He completed the post with the hashtag #BillsFans4BlackLives.