SANTA CLARA – 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 “inapporiate language,” which subseuquent reports said was the use of the “N-word.” Kaepernick 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 at all.
"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 to 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 players association.
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.