Colin Kaepernick began Sunday’s game amid a thunderclap of boos from the South Florida crowd and ended it defending his views on one of the most despised figures in this area, Fidel Castro.
Earlier this year, the 49ers quarterback wore a T-shirt that depicted a meeting one of his idols, Malcolm X, had with Castro, the former Cuban strongman, in New York in 1960. Castro died Friday at age 90, two days after Kaepernick was asked about Castro during a conference call with Miami-area reporters.
The Miami Herald ran a column on Saturday saying that Kaepernick, who has protested oppression in this country, was being hypocritical. Kaepernick said Sunday his comments were “taken completely out of context.”
“What I said was, I agree with the investment in education,” he said. “I also agree with the investment in free, universal health care as well as the involvement in helping end apartheid in South Africa. I would hope that everyone agrees those things are good things. And trying to push the false narrative that I was a supporter of the oppressive things that he did is just not true.”
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Castro’s death was celebrated in many neighborhoods around Miami. Castro seized control of Cuba in 1959, imprisoning and exiling his opponents, many of whom wound up in South Florida.
As he has for a number of his postgame news conferences this year, Kaepernick wore a T-shirt with Malcolm X’s image beneath a blazer.
“He was a great man, and he lived the life that he talked about,” Kaepernick said of the controversial civil rights figure who was assassinated in 1965. “He was someone who truly walked the walk, was a great leader for the African community and was someone that I admire.”
Kaepernick instantly gained national attention in August after he began sitting during the national anthem to protest what he said was the systematic oppression of minorities in this country. A week later, he started kneeling during the ceremony, which he did Sunday alongside outside linebacker Eli Harold.
On the Dolphins’ sideline, wide receiver Kenny Stills and safety Michael Thomas also took a knee. Thomas, who played at Stanford, spent the 2012 and 2013 offseasons with the 49ers.
Also during the anthem, 49ers running back Carlos Hyde and linebacker Gerald Hodges helped hold and wave the giant flag that was brought onto the field.
Blair’s sack – Fifth-round draft pick Ronald Blair recorded his first NFL sack midway through the third quarter following a 78-yard kickoff return by the Dolphins.
Miami began the drive on San Francisco’s 24-yard line and seemed assured at least of a field goal. But Blair’s 9-yard sack – plus a delay-of-game penalty on quarterback Ryan Tannehill – forced the Dolphins to punt.
Linebackers Nick Bellore and Ahmad Brooks combined for a sack earlier in the game. Brooks leads the team with four sacks.
Et cetera – Hyde’s 11-yard touchdown catch on the 49ers’ opening drive was his first NFL touchdown reception.
▪ Under coach Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers annually led the league in delay-of-game penalties. They committed one in the fourth quarter Sunday, their first of the season.
▪ Wide receiver Quinton Patton suffered a concussion following a third-quarter interception, and linebacker Shayne Skov injured his knee. Neither returned to the game. Bellore and tight end Vance McDonald had to be helped off the field but later returned.