Colin Kaepernick’s $11,000 fine for inappropriate language was cut in half after an arbitrator found evidence of “general profanity” but not the use of a racial slur.
Officials during the 49ers-Bears game in Week 2 penalized Kaepernick for “inappropriate language,” which subsequent reports said was the use of the “N-word.” The quarterback denied saying anything “racially derogatory” in the game and appealed the fine.
An arbitrator reviewed the incident and said it was not clear what Kaepernick said at the time. Video evidence appears to show Kaepernick saying “Back the (expletive) up” to Bears defensive lineman Lamarr Houston after a fourth-quarter interception.
Kaepernick on Wednesday wondered why he was fined.
“If you’re going to say I used a racial slur and come back and say I didn’t say it, then I don’t know what I’m being fined for,” he said.
Houston at first said he didn’t hear Kaepernick say anything, then later told the Chicago Tribune that Kaepernick did in fact use the “N-word.”
The league is cracking down on racial and homophobic slurs this season. The rule against inappropriate language, however, also includes the use of “abusive, threatening or insulting language or gestures to opponents, teammates, officials or representatives of the league.”
The appeal was heard by Ted Cottrell, an appeals officer jointly appointed by the league and the National Football League Players Association.
Cook uses his head – Reserve cornerback Chris Cook received praise from coach Jim Harbaugh on Wednesday for sniffing out a fake-punt attempt by the Rams in the fourth quarter Monday.
Cook entered the game as a gunner, something he hadn’t done this season, when Jimmie Ward injured his quadriceps in the second half. He said he was supposed to be on the other side of the field but decided to cover quarterback Austin Davis when he saw Davis line up in the punt formation.
“I just saw him standing out there and I went out there,” Cook said. “I was supposed to be on the other side.”
With their surprise foiled, the Rams let the play clock run out and took a delay-of-game penalty before punting.
“Chris did a fantastic job on special teams,” Harbaugh said. “Heads-up, alert play when they lined up for a fake punt, and Chris diagnosed it. ... Real good head-up play by him.”
Ward, the team’s nickel cornerback, did not practice Wednesday, and his status for Sunday’s game in Denver is unknown. If he can’t play, Perrish Cox would step in at the nickel position and Cook and rookie Dontae Johnson would each get playing time at cornerback.
Et cetera – Kaepernick said he wasn’t worried about playing in the Denver altitude.
“Did it for five years,” he said. “I’ll be all right.”
Reno, where Kaepernick played in college, is about 4,400 feet above sea level; Denver is 5,280 feet above sea level.
▪ Tramaine Brock (toe), Cook (quadriceps), Cox (quadriceps) and Chris Culliver (shoulder) were limited in practice. The only cornerback who practiced in full was the rookie, Johnson. Tight end Vernon Davis (back), who was limited in practice all last week, practiced in full Wednesday.
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.