DiversityInc reported on the controversy surrounding San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick allegedly directing the N-word towards Chicago Bears Defensive Lineman Lamarr Houston. Did he or didn’t he? Kaepernick denied any wrongdoing and is appealing the $11,025 fine that the league slapped on him. Houston stated that Kaepernick did indeed use the slur. Hopefully, there will be some official clarity, as Offensive Karma is at play here.
Did NFL Fine Colin Kaepernick for Using N-Word?
By Chris Hoenig
It appears that San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick may be the first player fined by the NFL for using the N-word on the field.
Kaepernick was fined $11,025 by the NFL last week for “direct[ing] abuse language toward” an opponent in the fourth quarter of the 49ers Week 2 matchup against the Chicago Bears, but the league did not provide any additional details. FOX Sports NFL Insider Jay Glazer reported that referees have said that Kaepernick directed the N-word at Bears defensive lineman Lamarr Houston.
Kaepernick, without going into any detail about what he was accused of saying, told reporters he planned to appeal the fine and that he had not done or said anything to warrant it.
“I didn’t say anything,” Kaepernick told reporters after the game, adding he was shocked when it was announced over the stadium PA that he was being penalized for “inappropriate language.”
The incident happened after Kaepernick threw the first of two late interceptions that helped spark the Bears’ 28-20 come-from-behind victory. As he celebrated Kyle Fuller’s interception, Houston jawed with Kaepernick, who shoved the 6’3”, 300-pound lineman and appeared to send a response his way.
Houston initially said publicly that he did not hear anything from Kaepernick, focusing instead on his own comment to the quarterback. “I said, ‘Nice pass,’” Houston told the Chicago Tribune.
“It will be appealed,” Kaepernick said after the fine was announced. “I didn’t say anything. Lamarr Houston said I didn’t say anything. We’re going to leave it at that.”
Kaepernick is biracial, but was adopted by a white couple when he was just a few weeks old.
Houston admitted after Glazer’s report went public, however, that Kaepernick did indeed use the N-word and curse at him.
“He was just saying inappropriate language,” Houston told the Chicago Tribune after the Bears beat the Jets in Week 3 on Monday Night Football—a game in which Houston himself was flagged for using inappropriate language toward an official. Asked if he was insulted, Houston said it was “a cultural thing.”
“I don’t know,” Houston said when asked about Monday night’s penalty. “[Umpire Tony Michalek] thought I cussed at him, but all I said was ‘Back up’ because he was all up on Willie [Young] and I just told him to back up some. I guess he was intimidated by it or whatever.”
The quick, decisive action by NFL brass to fine Kaepernick counters the league’s abysmal handling of the domestic-abuse allegations levied against several players in the past several months.
During the offseason, NFL owners weighed whether to implement an automatic 15-yard penalty for using the N-word—and other racial, ethnic and homophobic slurs—on the field.
Last July, a tape emerged that showed Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper using the N-word at a Kenny Chesney concert. His tirade allegedly began after a security guard, who was Black, did not allow him backstage.
The team fined Cooper an undisclosed amount (though the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement reportedly limits the fine to just over $37,000), but the league took no additional action.