Kaepernick Pictured In Rifle Crosshairs On Shirts Sold At Sunday’s Bills Vs. 49ers NFL Game

T-shirts picturing San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick with rifle crosshairs targeting his chest were being sold outside of New Era Field (formerly Ralph Wilson Stadium) during Sunday’s NFL matchup between the 49ers and the Buffalo Bills, according to a tweet from sports journalist Robert Klemko of TheMMQB.com.

Other news outlets quickly began reporting on the T-shirts portraying Kaepernick caught in the crosshairs after Klemko’s tweet went out.

“Quarterback Colin Kaepernick made his first start on Sunday in nearly a year, against the Bills,” begins a post by NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk blogger Mike Florio. It’s an innocuous opening line that Florio immediately follows with, “Outside the team’s stadium, T-shirts for sale allowed fans to make a strong (and alarming) statement about the anthem protest.”

In another tweet posted by Klemko, a “very drunk Bills fan” spear tackled a dummy wearing a Kaepernick jersey and an afro wig.

In a third tweet from Klemko, a women is seen tackling the same dummy in a video clip. It is difficult to determine from the audio accompanying the clip, but according to Klemko, who was present, you could hear “Bills fans scream ‘tackle the Muslim,’ then a young lady obliges.”

Colin Kaepernick has faced growing scrutiny, and hostility, for his outspoken stance in support of the Black Lives Matter movement against police violence.

During this year’s preseason games, Kaepernick refused to stand during the national anthem. He initially stayed seated during the song, but later began kneeling on one knee as a gesture of compromise for critics who viewed his action as an insult to U.S. veterans and active service military.

Kaepernick has repeatedly insisted that he does not intend to be disrespectful to military personnel. He’s argued that kneeling during the national anthem is a non-violent protest against the police brutality that plagues the United States, of which people of color account for a disproportionate number of victims.

His protests have endeared him to many social justice activists and their allies. His No. 7 jersey has become the top seller for the NFL, and Time Magazine put him on the cover, as CNN points out.

Several other NFL players have joined Kaepernick in his protest in recent weeks, either kneeling or raising a fist during the national anthem. ESPN gives a rundown of participating players each week.

However, as Klemko’s tweets attest, not everyone is happy with Kaepernick’s decision. Many players, coaches, athletes, politicians, commentators, and fans have criticized him, some more harshly than others. But T-shirts with crosshairs on Kaepernick’s likeness go beyond disagreement and obviously hint at threats of violence.

In one of the most widely-discussed criticisms of Kaepernick, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg referred to his actions as “dumb and disrespectful” and associated them with flag burning, the New York Times reported.

Kaepernick responded to Ginsburg soon after.

“At the end of the day the flag is just a piece of cloth and I am not going to value a piece of cloth over people’s lives,” Vox quoted Kaepernick as saying. “That’s just not something I can do, it’s not something I feel morally right doing and my character won’t allow me to do that.”

Ginsburg later apologized for her comments and called them “inappropriately dismissive and harsh.”

“Some of you have inquired about a book interview in which I was asked how I felt about Colin Kaepernick and other N.F.L. players who refused to stand for the national anthem,” Ginsburg wrote in a note to media quoted by the Times. “Barely aware of the incident or its purpose, my comments were inappropriately dismissive and harsh. I should have declined to respond.”

Ginsburg’s apology was welcomed by supporters of Kaepernick, but as Klemko’s tweets of the QB in the crosshairs on T-shirts clearly illustrate, not everyone is as understanding of Kaepernick’s views.

It should be noted that neither the NFL nor the Buffalo Bills were in anyway involved with the tackle dummy or the T-shirts. Everything mentioned in Klemko’s tweets took place outside of the stadium.

[Featured Image by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images]