National Anthem Protester Colin Kaepernick Benched After Abysmal Performance

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) fumbles, Dec. 4, 2016 / AP
December 5, 2016

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was benched during the fourth quarter of Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears after throwing for only four yards through three quarters.

Kaepernick's 49ers have continued to struggle since he took over as the starting quarterback earlier in the season. They currently have a record of 1-11, which makes them the second worst team in the NFL.

Facing snowfall during Sunday's game, Kaepernick was frozen out of the end zone and his offense seemed to be unable to move the ball. Kaepernick had been sacked a total of five times and only completed one pass before he was pulled from the game.

"It was my decision to make and made a move to see if we can get a spark and to see where we were. At that point of time of the game we were down a couple of scores and obviously we got throw it to see if we can get a spark for the team," 49ers coach Chip Kelly said after pulling Kaepernick and replacing him with backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

At the time of his replacement, the 49ers had managed an abysmal negative 21 passing yards due to the yardage loss that came from Kaepernick's five sacks.

"I was surprised. It wasn't something I expected ... It's not my place to really argue on the sideline," Kaepernick said after the game about being benched.

The loss to the Bears is an especially low mark for the NFC West team in an exceedingly terrible year. The Bears have shared a similar space with the 49ers this season at the bottom of the league's standings, managing just their third win this season against San Francisco.

Kaepernick has managed to keep himself in national headlines despite his team's poor record due to his continued protest of the National Anthem before each game. During the preseason, Kaepernick started kneeling during the Star Spangled Banner to protest what he calls racial injustice and oppression of blacks in the United States. His actions have influenced other players around the league to perform similar protests aligning with his cause.

Kaepernick also made news last month for praising and defending former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro after he passed away. Castro, a communist revolutionary, was known for political oppression and human rights abuses inside Cuba.

After the game Sunday, Coach Kelly did not say whether he would start Kaepernick or Gabbert for next week's contest against the Jets.

Published under: Football , Protests