The Slatest

Colin Kaepernick to Start Game in Rust Belt City Against Team Whose Coach Is a Trump Supporter

Colin Kaepernick during an Oct. 7, 2012, game against the Buffalo Bills in San Francisco.

Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick will make his first start of the season for San Francisco 49ers against the Buffalo Bills this Sunday in Buffalo, Niners coach Chip Kelly says:

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Practically, the reason that Kaepernick is starting now is that the 49ers are 1–4 and previous starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert hasn’t been playing that well. Symbolically, the setup could probably not be more potent. Kaepernick, of course, has been protesting police brutality against black Americans this season by kneeling as “The Star-Spangled Banner” is played before games. The Bills, meanwhile, were mentioned prominently in a recent Bleacher Report article about how Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy has gone over in NFL locker rooms. Bills head coach Rex Ryan has appeared onstage at a Trump rally; infamous Bills offensive lineman Richie Incognito told BR that he admires Trump’s “don’t mess with America” attitude. (Support for Trump is not nearly universal on the team—a black Bills player speaking anonymously said that “the fact that Rex supports [Trump] made me look at him completely differently, and not in a positive way.”)

For his part Trump has suggested that if Kaepernick has a problem with the United States he should leave the country; the GOP nominee also referred to economic depression in upstate New York, an area where he has significant support, during Sunday’s presidential debate.

I guess Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be rooting for the Trump coach this weekend. Football politics makes for strange bedfellows.

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