A hostile reception was expected.
And that’s exactly what the Miami crowd gave San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick when he ran onto the field for his first drive of Sunday’s game against the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.
Even before the 49ers broke the huddle on the sideline, fans loudly booed Kaepernick, who during a conference call on Wednesday made comments praising Fidel Castro. The former Cuban president died two days later.
The exchange came after Miami Herald columnist Armando Salguero asked Kaepernick why he chose to wear a T-shirt during a post-game news conference at the beginning of the season depicting several photos including one of Castro meeting with Malcolm X. Among Kaepernick’s comments came praise for Cuba’s literacy rate during Castro’s regime.
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Castro, who led a brutal dictatorship in Cuba for over five decades, died Friday at age 90.
Kaepernick participated in his usual pregame routine on the field two hours before Sunday’s kickoff with the stands mostly empty.
But during the opening plays of the 49ers’ first drive, the majority of the fans expressed their discontent emphatically.
Kaepernick was the first NFL player to protest the pregame playing of the national anthem as part of what has become a nationwide movement protesting police brutality and wrongful treatment of African-Americans by law enforcement.
His protest prompted other athletes in different sports to do the same including four Miami Dolphins: Arian Foster, Michael Thomas, Kenny Stills and Jelani Jenkins — who all chose to kneel during the anthem in the season-opener Sept. 11 in Seattle.
Jenkins now stands with teammates and Foster has since retired.
Thomas and Stills continue to kneel during the anthem and did so again prior to Sunday’s game, as did Kaepernick.