San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick appeared Friday at a prayer gathering in his hometown of Turlock and spoke publicly for the first time about apparently baseless media reports that he and two other players were under investigation in connection with a possible sexual assault.

According to the Modesto Bee, Kaepernick told a sellout crowd at the 21st Annual Turlock Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast: “It’s been put out that I did something wrong. Even though it’s a bad circumstance, a bad situation, I feel like ultimately I’ve been blessed because it’s changed my way of thinking. It’s made me stronger. It’s made me look at things differently.”

Kaepernick expressed gratitude for the community support he’s received, evidenced by the 900 people who turned out for his prayer breakfast appearance. reported April 10 that Miami police were investigating Kaepernick, 49ers receiver Quinton Patton and Seattle Seahawks receiver Ricardo Lockette after an encounter with an unidentified woman in Lockette’s apartment. The woman told police she’d had drinks with the players, who told her they wanted her to smoke pot, then apparently fell unconscious after having gotten undressed. She told police she woke up in a hospital with no memory of how she arrived there.

Subsequently, it’s been reported that Lockette called police to report the woman was lying naked on a bed and refusing to leave the apartment. Kaepernick was not at the apartment when police responded. A “crisis intervention team” assessed the woman, and Fire Department personnel transported her to the hospital. No charges have been filed.

The day after the original TMZ story, which other media outlets initially echoed, Kaepernick denounced the report via Twitter:

The Rev. Ron Youngdale, the Lutheran pastor at the church Kaepernick’s family attends, did a Q&A session with the quarterback and asked him how he integrates his Christian faith into his workplace (see video above).

Kaepernick talked about Bible study and prayer sessions with the team, and got a big laugh when he said, “It’s amazing to me to see how spiritual a locker room can become before a game.”

“A lot of ‘amens’?” Youngdale asked to more laughter.

“What you see on the field is a lot of big men who are trying to hurt each other and take each other out,” Kaepernick said. “You see a lot of that aggression and passion come out, but if you walk in that locker room before the game, you’re going to see a lot of those same men on their knees thanking the Lord and asking for protection. And I think that’s something that’s truly amazing to see.”


Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke is a blogger, reporter and editor for KQED News, responsible for online breaking news coverage of topics ranging from California water issues to the Bay Area's transportation challenges. In a newsroom career that began in Chicago in 1972, Dan has worked as a city and foreign/national editor for The San Francisco Examiner, editor at Wired News, deputy editor at Wired magazine, managing editor at TechTV as well as for several Web startups.

Since joining KQED in 2007, Dan has reported, edited and produced both radio and online features and breaking news pieces. He has shared in two Society of Professional Journalists Norcal Excellence in Journalism awards — for his 2012 reporting on a KQED Science series on water and power in California, and in 2014, for KQED's comprehensive reporting on the south Napa earthquake.

In addition to his 44 years of on-the-job education, Dan is a lifelong student of history and is still pursuing an undergraduate degree.

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