Colin Kaepernick made his first start of the 2016 season Sunday when the San Francisco 49ers traveled to Orchard Park, N.Y., for a date with the Buffalo Bills. It didn’t go well for the Niners quarterback, who completed just 13 of 29 passes for 187 yards as San Francisco got destroyed 45-16.
But Kaepernick’s rough showing was just part of the story. He also dealt with a crazy amount of hatred from some members of the Bills Mafia, which is known as one of the NFL’s wilder fan bases.
Robert Klemko of Sports Illustrated’s The MMQB was on scene chronicling the madness. And while there were some Bills fans who supported Kaepernick’s ongoing protest, others showed their displeasure with the QB kneeling during the national anthem before games by tackling dummies and selling eyebrow-raising T-shirts.
Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that a few fans don’t speak or act for everyone. There also was plenty of support for Kaepernick, who continues to protest against what he believes to be acts of racial inequality and police brutality across the United States.
But Kaepernick’s 2016 debut showed again just how polarizing the topic is. One could argue it’s the biggest storyline of the 2016 NFL season, as it’s an issue that extends well beyond the gridiron.