SANTA CLARA — The reactions to Colin Kaepernick in road venues have been all over the place this season.
The 49ers quarterback, who kneels during the national anthem before games, said Tuesday he’s received both support and harsh criticism for protesting racial injustice and police brutality.
It’s been different depending on where he plays.
“Atlanta was somewhere where I had a lot of support, a lot of people saying they agree with what I’m doing, support it and are happy that I did it and to keep going and to stay strong,” Kaepernick said.
“And there’s other places where the fans don’t agree as much. Buffalo in particular was one where that was very evident.
“What I heard, things that I saw after the fact as far as in the parking lot, T-shirts, all of those things. It was very evident that this was something that they don’t agree with, which to me I don’t understand.”
Kaepernick made his first start of the season in Buffalo on Oct. 16 and was greeted with hostility, which was in stark contrast to the support he received in Atlanta over the weekend.
“(There’s been) a lot of support and a lot of people making sure they went out of their way to say that they did support it, which means a lot,” he said.
“I hope those people and people that support it use their voices more and more and speak out more and more to try to help create change.”
San Francisco lost a franchise-record 13 straight games after falling to the Falcons 41-13. They will finish with the worst record in team history without a win during the final two weeks. The 49ers travel to play the Rams on Saturday in Los Angeles before the season finale at home against the Seahawks.
It’s been a trying season for Kaepernick, who’s dealing with this lengthy losing streak while his future with the Niners remains uncertain.
Kaepernick and the team reworked his contract which could allow the quarterback to test unrestricted free agency after the season.
But Kaepernick’s had teammates to help him through it, such as linebacker Eli Harold, who joined Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid in taking a knee during the anthem.
“It’s very impactful and I think they are people who have very strong character,” Kaepernick said.
“And to have the ability to really recognize what’s going on, how it not only affects them, but it affects their families and affects other people that look like them is something that’s very powerful and I’m very happy to have teammates like that, that have that type of character, that have those type of ethics and humanity.”
Harold said he’s received racially charged criticism on social media and has been accused of disrespecting the military. He has friends and family members in the armed services, who have his support.
“People, they really don’t know what’s going on,” Harold said. “I feel like a lot of people should open their eyes and at least just try to hear (Kaepernick’s) message and see what he’s really trying to do.”
Kaepernick is planning to donate $1 million to charitable causes across the country supporting his message over the coming months.
NOTES: The 49ers placed receiver Quinton Patton (foot) and cornerback Jimmie Ward (shoulder) on injured reserve, giving San Francisco 16 players lost for the season with injuries. … The team promoted receiver DeAndre Smelter, a fourth-round pick in 2015, from the practice squad after missing his rookie season recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament tear suffered in college. Smelter hasn’t appeared in a game since 2014 while at Georgia Tech.