49ers' Kaepernick: Castro comments taken out of context
Colin Kaepernick began Sunday’s game hearing a loud chorus of boos from the majority of the fans at Hard Rock Stadium.
It ended with him being knocked to the ground two yards short of the end zone and denied a potential game-tying score by Ndamukong Suh and ironically, Kiko Alonso, whose father was born in Cuba.
A short time after the game, Kaepernick was asked about the comments he made four days earlier praising deceased former Cuban president Fidel Castro.
"What I said was that I agreed with [Castro]’s investment in education," Kaepernick said. "I also agree with his investment in free universal health care, which we don’t have in this country, as well as his involvement in helping end apartheid in South Africa. I would hope people would think those are all good things."
Kaepernick made his previous comments regarding Castro, who died Friday at age 90, during a media conference call this past Wednesday when Miami Herald columnist Armando Salguero asked him why he chose to wear a T-shirt earlier this season depicting a meeting between Castro and Malcolm X in 1960.
After Sunday’s game, Kaepernick addressed the media postgame wearing another Malcolm X shirt under a dark jacket.
But this one depicted Malcolm X’s image only.
Kaepernick went on to deny that his previous comments were intended to praise the oppressiveness that Castro’s communist regime has enforced in Cuba for nearly six decades.
"Trying to push this false narrative that I support the oppressive things that he did is just not true," Kaepernick said. "It was completely taken out of context. I never said I support the oppressive things that [Castro] did.
"I’ve worn many Malcolm X shirts. He was a great man. He truly walked the walk and was a great leader for the African American community and someone I admire."
Kaepernick’s choice to praise any aspect of Castro’s actions during his reign in Cuba prompted fans to express their displeasure early and often during Sunday’s game.
Although the loudest boos could be heard during his first trot out to the field on the 49ers’ opening possession, Kaepernick was jeered at times mixed in with the typical crowd noise made by opposing fans hoping to disrupt an offense.
Kaepernick threw for 296 yards, threw three touchdown passes, and ran for 113 yards on 10 carries.
But Kaepernick’s day ended with him on the ground, helmet almost dislodged and on the short end of a 31-24 outcome.
Alonso, who intercepted Kaepernick earlier in the game, took off his own helmet after the game-clinching play and ran down the field screaming and celebrating.
After the game, Alonso wore a head band depicting the Cuban flag while he addressed the media in the locker room.
Kaepernick was asked later in his press conference if he understood the impact his statements, regardless of the intent, had in the South Florida community.
Kaepernick answered: "I can understand the concern, but for me all I said was that it was a historic moment for Malcolm X. I’m not going to cut out pieces of Malcolm X’s life. In 1960 when they met in Harlem that was a historic moment. I’ll always be true to what Malcolm represented and I’m not going to cut out parts of history."