San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s ongoing protest drew a loud counter-protest among Buffalo Bills fans before the Oct. 16 game at Buffalo’s New Era Field.
As usual, Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem, but not before the crowd began chanting "USA, USA” as a preemptive demonstration of their own, reports ESPN.
When Kaepernick took the field for the 49ers' first offensive series, the crowd greeted him with a chorus of boos which lasted for several plays.
Outside the stadium, some enterprisers were cashing in on the controversy, selling anti-Kaepernick shirts, MMQB reported. One shirt depicted the quarterback in the crosshairs of a rifle scope, accompanied by the headline “Wanted: Notorious Disgrace to America.”
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After the game, the quarterback said: "I don't understand what's un-American about fighting for liberty and justice for everybody, for the equality this country says it stands for… To me, I see it as very patriotic and American to uphold the United States to the standards that it says it lives by."
Some fans at the game agreed. One group of Bills fans, in the tradition of the Vietnam War-era “teach in” protests, conducted a "kneel in" outside the stadium in support of Kaepernick’s cause.
The number of NFL players joining Kaepernick’s protest has continued to grow. During week 8 of the season, teams with protesting players included the 49ers, Dolphins, Eagles, Rams, Titans, Raiders and Seahawks.
While some players follow Kaepernick’s lead by kneeling, an increasing number are showing their support with raised fists, recalling the “black power salute” by Tommie Smith and John Carlos that rocked the 1968 Olympics.
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The entire Seattle Seahawks team continued to show its solidarity with the protest movement by linking arms as "The Star-Spangled Banner" played.