San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick launched the N-word against Chicago Bears defensive end Lamarr Houston during the teams' Week 2 game, the Chicago Tribune is reporting.
Initially, Houston said that Kaepernick had said nothing to deserve the flag or the $11,000 levied by the NFL for using inappropriate language.
That story changed after Fox Sports' Jay Glazer first reported last week that Kaepernick had in fact called Houston the N-word. Kap denied that report in turn, but on Monday night, after the Bears' game against the New York Jets, Houston confirmed the exchange.
"He was just saying inappropriate language," Houston told the newspaper, confirming that profanity as well as the N-word came out of Kaepernick's mouth.
Asked if he was offended, Houston called the exchange "a cultural thing," the newspaper reported.
Houston is black. Kaepernick, a Milwaukee native raised in Turlock by foster parents who are white, is black.
Using the racial slur is now a punishable offense in the predominately-black NFL, though some white players have used it in the past without penalty, most notably Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper, who apologized for an N-word-laced tirade launched at a Kenny Chesney concert during the offseason in 2013.
Kaepernick first said he didn't say anything to Houston, then changed his story to say that he didn't use any language that was "racially derogatory."
On Twitter Tuesday, Kaepernick seemed to have as many defenders as critics.