Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, has been fined by the NFL for allegedly saying the ‘N-word’ to Chicago Bears defensive end Lamarr Houston in the Niners’ season home-opener. A recent statute added to the NFL’s code of conduct cites that trash talking, including swearing and racial slurs, count as unsportsmanlike conduct that can be flagged. In Kaepernick’s case he was flagged by side judge referee Laird Hayes.

“[Kaepernick] knows what he said,” Hayes said. “It was the right call.”

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The offending player’s team could lose 15 yards as a penalty, and the player himself could be fined or suspended. Kaepernick awoke on Sunday to learn the league had fined him $11,025 after a ref claimed Houston the ‘N-word,’ after Houston patted Kaepernick on the back following a play.

49ners coach Jim Harbaugh is steadfastly behind his QB. “I’ve never heard Colin use that word,” Harbaugh said, “and I’ve never heard him lie.”

Kaepernick has repeatedly and vocally refuted the claims against him, and he plans on appealing the fine. Initially, Lamarr Houston defended Kaepernick, saying he didn’t hear the QB say anything to him, then today changed his story and backed up referee Hayes’ account that Kaepernick did indeed use the word.

“He thought I cussed at him, but all I said was ‘back up’ because he was all up on Willie [Young] and I just told him to back up some,” Houston said. “I guess he was intimidated by it or whatever.”

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