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Sunday's 49ers at Bills game is now -- for many -- all about Colin Kaepernick

Sunday's game between the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers at New Era Field no longer is only about football.

To a large contingent of national media that suddenly found great interest in a matchup that once would have been widely ignored beyond the Bills' fan base (even those Niner fans in the Bay Area would have likely had second thoughts about waking up for the 10 a.m. PT kickoff), this will be all about Colin Kaepernick making his first start of the season for the 49ers.

The fact the Niners have lost four games in a row and the Bills are on a three-game winning streak is irrelevant to all of those network assignment editors who have spent Tuesday dispatching reporters to Orchard Park.

Not just sports reporters, but those who deal with "real" news.

That's because when Kaepernick was photographed sitting during the national anthem before a preseason game and later explained he had done so in protest of the many incidents where police have killed African-American men, he no longer was a sports story.

He became the eye of a national storm of controversy. He was, and still is, the central figure of debate and discussion that continued as his kneeling anthem protests as a backup quarterback carried into the regular season.

Part of the debate/discussion was whether the 49ers were, in fact, punishing Kaepernick for his stance by not allowing him to start ahead of Blaine Gabbert, even after it became clear Gabbert shouldn't be starting.

Kelly insisted that had nothing to do with standing pat at quarterback, that his decision was purely football-related.

Perhaps that's true. For the record, Kaepernick wasn't playing well in recent seasons -- not the way he was when he led the 49ers to the Super Bowl appearance.

But his ability to run, as well as throw, figured to make him a better fit for the up-tempo offense that came with Kelly when the Niners made him their coach after last season.

Now, the switch has been made because, presumably, Kelly considers it the right football move.

For the many new eyeballs that have been drawn to Sunday's Bills-49ers game, however, football is going to be barely afterthought. And when Kaepernick kneels before the anthem, it will draw far greater attention than any of his previous kneeling.

More attention than the actual reason that he, his teammates, the Bills and everyone else in attendance will be at New Era Field.

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