The NFL reduced the fine from $11,000 to $5,500, the Sacramento Bee and other outlets reported, after an arbitrator found no proof that Kaepernick used a racial slur. Kaepernick used“general profanity,” which is why half of the fine was held up (which makes no sense because if “general profanity” is to be fined by the NFL going forward, the entire league might be broke by Thanksgiving, but apparently the NFL didn’t want to let him totally off the hook).
According to the Sacramento Bee, video evidence seems to show Kaepernick telling Houston in a Sept. 14 game to “Back the [expletive] up” after a fourth-quarter interception, although Wednesday’s story said it wasn’t clear to the NFL in reviewing the incident what he said. Kaepernick was flagged for a penalty during the game for “inappropriate language.”
Houston told the Chicago Sun-Times that Kaepernick used the “n-word” to him. Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reported, citing an unnamed official, that Kaepernick used the “n-word.” Kaepernick said at the time that he said nothing “racially derogatory.” The NFL’s ruling makes Houston’s claims and the penalty on the field a bit strange, but Kaepernick can point to it as vindication.
The NFL has had an inappropriate language penalty in its rule book, and this year is having officials enforce it with an emphasis on eliminating racial slurs.