San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick called Chicago Bears linebacker Lamarr Houston the “N-word” during Sept. 14's game, a report asserted Sunday. Kaepernick denies using a racial slur and will appeal the $11,000 fine imposed by the NFL for unsportsmanlike conduct.
“It will be appealed,” Kaepernick said, according to Fox Sports. “I didn’t say anything. Lamarr Houston said I didn’t say anything. We’re going to leave it at that.”
Kaepernick and Houston exchanged words after the 49ers quarterback threw an interception during his team’s 28-20 loss to the Bears in Week 2. Despite Kaepernick’s denial, referees confirmed to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer that he used the “N-word.”
“[Kaepernick] knows what he said,” said side judge Laird Hayes, the referee who penalized him. “It was the right call.”
After the game, Houston told the Chicago Tribune that he “didn’t hear anything,” from the 49ers quarterback. “The player that I supposedly said something to has been quoted saying that I didn’t say anything, and I don’t know him, so it’s not like he would have a reason to just randomly stick up for me,” Kaepernick said.
Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh did not make a definitive statement on the incident, but spoke in defense of Kaepernick’s character. “Colin says he didn’t say anything, this person says what they say and somebody else heard something else,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t have a stance. You can only imagine. I don’t have a stance because I don’t know, I didn’t hear it. Colin’s always been truthful 100 percent of the time.”
NFL officials announced last off-season that referees would keep a close eye on the use of foul or offensive language on the field, with special attention paid to use of the “N-word.” Under the league’s player conduct policy, “the use of abusive, threatening or insulting language” results in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.