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On Football, Colin Kaepernick And Society Collide In Buffalo

There are moments in sports that give particular events extra weight.

There are moments in sports that give particular events extra weight. From a societal perspective, one could not deny the zenith of three different factors coming together in Orchard Park, NY on Sunday; football, society, and Colin Kaepernick.

From a football perspective, the Buffalo Bills have gone on a four-game winning streak after firing offensive coordinator Greg Roman a month ago. Remember how they laughed at head coach Rex Ryan for not firing his brother Rob as defensive coordinator as well? What a difference a month makes.

The Bills’ key on offense seems to be “run more”, in a league where predictability is discouraged. While Buffalo may not be a lot of things, balmy in October for example, predictable may be their primary offensive trait. They’re going to run, and quite successfully with a 137.2 average which is good for third overall in the National Football League. Meanwhile, on the other sideline, Colin Kaepernick was going to be starting for the first time since November of 2015 .

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(Photo Credit: Mercury News)


The Bills dominated the football perspective, final score 45 – 16. For his part, Colin Kaepernick did well considering he hadn’t started in nearly a year;  going 13 – 29 for 187 yards and one TD. But due to San Francisco’s inability to finish drives, and an explosive performance by LeSean McCoy with 140 yards, three rushing touchdowns, and a capable performance by Buffalo QB Tyrod Taylor who threw two TDs  and ran for another in the dominating victory, the football part of the equation was never in doubt.


From a social perspective, with some in the stadium when took a knee with Colin and other “counter” protesters striking dummies with afro wigs and allegedly chanting “Tackle the Muslim,” we see both proponents of free speech and its opponents on full display.

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But there was support from Bills fan Caitlin Blue and others who kneeled near Gate 5, following a small procession from groups calling themselves Just Resisting and Showing Up for Racial Justice Buffalo, and using the hashtag #BillsFans4BlackLives, during the anthem before exiting the stadium parking lot and going home.  However, a dissenting view was not very far away.

Reportedly, out on Southwestern Boulevard, several vendors offered shirts with a photo of Kaepernick covered by the crosshairs of a target. Wanted: Notorious Disgrace to America, it said. Another one said: Shut Up and Stand, Kaepernick”. These instances are just the very beginning of what it’s going to be like with Kaepernick as a starter in the National Football League.


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(Photo Credit: ABC 7)

For the sake of the Niners, and newly-minted Kaep fans across the nation, let’s hope Colin hits more of those intermediate throws with greater accuracy. Also, clock mismanagement resulted in two wasted timeouts and, truthfully, WR Torrey Smith should have two TDs if not for missed throws.

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Despite many “wishing” for a Kaepernick-led victory for human decency over the Buffalo Bills and their Trump cheerleader head coach Rex Ryan, that simply wouldn’t be. On this day, Buffalo won because they were the better team, and not because of their head coach’s political leanings.

Conversely, the ongoing political action of Colin Kaepernick is not the reason the San Francisco 49ers lost. The better team won.

However, the verdict is still out on America as an increasingly bold and rabid, anti-Keap contingency will likely follow the Niners from stadium to stadium for the rest of the season. Perhaps support for his cause to bring police brutality and excessive force against people of color to light will increase exponentially in direct parallel to that eventuality.



Not like I’m trying to pour syrup on crap and call it pancakes, but at least the San Francisco 49ers know for certain who the starting quarterback is going to be for the foreseeable future.


On the field, Colin is a great friend of mine. We met coming out of college, trained together in Atlanta for combine prep, so weve remained friends ever since then. Told him just that I was happy for him, Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor told USA Today. Its his team now, be the leader that we know that he can be, go out there and continue to keep fighting each day.

Ricardo A Hazell has served as Senior Contributor with The Shadow League since coming to the company in 2013. His byline has appeared in the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the South China Sea Post, the Root and many other publications. At TSL he is charged with exploring re black cultural angles of where they intersect with the mainstream.