Sunday, February 25, 2018
Sports

Kaepernick back at No. 1, fights protest criticism

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Colin Kaepernick will start at quarterback for the 49ers this week against the Bills.

But talk about his national anthem protests remained the more prominent story.

Coach Chip Kelly announced the decision Tuesday to bench Blaine Gabbert and give back the job Kaepernick lost midway through last season. Kaepernick has recently drawn attention by refusing to stand for the national anthem.

Just after being named starter, Kaepernick struck back at Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who this week called his anthem protest "dumb" and "disrespectful."

"It is disappointing to hear a Supreme Court justice call a protest against injustices and oppression 'stupid, dumb' in reference to players doing that," Kaepernick said. "I was reading an article and it refers to white critique of black protests and how they try to de-legitimize it by calling it 'idiotic, dumb, stupid,' things of that nature, so they can sidestep the real issue. As I was reading that I saw more and more truth (in) how this has been approached by people in power and white people in power in particular."

Ginsburg, 83, made her remarks Monday to Yahoo News' Katie Couric. Kaepernick has been kneeling during the playing of the national anthem since the preseason. His silent protest has spawned a movement among high school, college and professional athletes.

In the midst of all of that, and with San Francisco at 1-4, Kaepernick reclaimed his starting job from Gabbert, who is last in the NFL in yards per attempt (5.9) and second-worst in passer rating (69.6). Kelly said Kaepernick's ongoing protest had no bearing on his decision.

"I'm ready to play," Kaepernick said. "It's been about a year since live-game action. So I'm itching to get back out there."

Giants investigation: Giants left tackle Ereck Flowers shoved ESPN reporter Jordan Raanan on Sunday, ESPN reported. Coach Ben McAdoo said he and general manager Jerry Reese talked Flowers, who apologized to Raanan. ESPN said the league is investigating.

Browns: Veteran quarterback Charlie Whitehurst was released and rookie QB Kevin Hogan moved from the practice squad to the active roster. Whitehurst injured his left knee late in Sunday's 33-13 loss to New England.

Dolphins: Offensive linemen Dallas Thomas and Billy Turner and running back Isaiah Pead were waived. Miami signed cornerback Chimdi Chekwa and offensive tackle Sam Young.

Eagles: The NFL suspended tackle Lane Johnson 10 games for violating its performance-enhancing substance policy. He will be eligible to return Dec. 19.

Steelers: Defensive end Cam Heyward will miss Sunday's game at Miami with a left hamstring injury, ending his streak of 85 straight games played.

Vikings: They signed offensive tackle and 2008 No. 1 overall draft pick Jake Long.

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