Kaepernick addresses controversy, defends Malcolm X-Castro shirt

Kaepernick addresses controversy, defends Malcolm X-Castro shirt

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Colin Kaepernick appeared at the podium for his post-game press conference wearing a T-shirt that depicted activist Malcolm X, who was assassinated in 1965.

This week, Miami Herald columnist Armando Salguero challenged Kaepernick on a conference call about his shirt selection. Kaepernick previous wore a T-shirt showing Malcolm X and former Cuban leader Fidel Castro at a meeting in 1960.

Cuban officials announced Castro’s death on Friday, the same day the 49ers arrived in South Florida to play the Miami Dolphins.

After the 49ers’ 31-24 loss, Kaepernick was asked about some of the statements he made, in which he defended Castro’s record of education in Cuba.

“What I said was that I agree with the investment in education,” Kaepernick said. “I also agree with the investment in free universal health care, as well as the involvement in him helping end apartheid in South Africa. I would hope that everybody agrees that those things are good things. Trying to push the false narrative that I was a supporter of the oppressive things that he did, it’s just not true.”

Kaepernick was asked about his shirt selection on Sunday.

“I’ve worn many Malcolm X shirts,” Kaepernick said. “He was a great man and he lived the life that he talked about. He was someone that truly walked the walk and was a great leader for the African community, and someone I admire.”

When asked if he understands concerns that arose with his decision to wear a shirt that portrayed Castro, Kaepernick said, “I can understand the concern. But for me what I said was that was a historic moment for Malcolm.

Kaepernick added, "I’m not going to cut out pieces of Malcolm’s life. In 1960 when they met in Harlem, that was a historic moment. That’s something that I will always be true to what Malcolm was, what he represented because I’m not going to cut out history.”

Kaepernick was asked if he worries that the Castro controversy and the attention on his decision not to vote is causing the public to lose track of his original message.

“I don’t worry about people losing track of what the message is,” he said. “I’ve been true to the message. I’m against systematic oppression. Voting is a part of that system, and I’ve talked at length about why I believe that.”

49ers sign former first-round pick guard


49ers sign former first-round pick guard

The 49ers added some talent in the trenches on Tuesday.

Guard Jonathan Cooper inked a one-year deal, the team announced.

Cooper was originally drafted No. 7 overall by the Cardinals in 2013. After two seasons in Arizona, he spent time with the Patriots, Browns and Cowboys.

Last season, he appeared in 13 games for Dallas.

“Having started 27 games in four NFL seasons, Jonathan brings great experience to the interior of our offensive line. We look forward to him competing for a starting job at guard, while also bringing a veteran presence to our locker room. Jonathan is a welcome addition to our team,” GM John Lynch said in a statement.

Richard Sherman envisions making contributions to 49ers on and off the field

Richard Sherman envisions making contributions to 49ers on and off the field

SANTA CLARA – Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman believes he has a lot of good football ahead of him.

But he knows he is not coming to the 49ers after seven seasons with the rival Seattle Seahawks just for how he fits into defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s scheme. The 49ers signed Sherman to a three-year contract on March 10 -- one day after the Seahawks released him.

Sherman, who turns 30 on March 30, views his job description as being a major influence and contributor to the 49ers on and off the field.

“I think it’s probably 50-50,” Sherman said Tuesday in an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area. “Obviously, I’m going to be asked to play at a high level, and that’s what I expect from myself and that’s what I expect to bring to this team. But outside of that, I think I bring an aspect of culture and a winning mentality.”

Sherman is a four-time Pro Bowl performer and three-time first-team All-Pro. He said the commitment to winning is all-consuming. It is a mindset he helps to share with his new teammates.

“It’s about waking up and doing things that will contribute to winning later, whether it’s your diet, your sleep habits, how you treat your teammates, how you converse,” Sherman said. “Do you go out tonight or do you stay in and get some extra studying? What are you doing to help us win the game on Sunday? Just that mentality will help a lot of these people.”

There might be no young player on the 49ers in need of a good role model more than Reuben Foster, who is set to enter his second NFL season. Foster was arrested this offseason for possession of marijuana in Alabama. A month later, he was arrested in Los Gatos for alleged domestic violence, threats and possession of an assault weapon.

On Tuesday, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office said no decision has yet been reached whether to pursue criminal charges against Foster.

Sherman said he has not spoken to Foster but he will be willing to be a mentor to Foster and provide him with support. Sherman said he has heard a lot of great things about Foster.

“If I can help him, I’ll do my best,” Sherman said. “I look forward to meeting him and being a teammate of his, and helping him in any way I can. To think I can change everything he does, I’d be foolish to say I could. But am I going to try my best to help him and put him in positions to be more successful in the future? Yes, I am.”