SANTA CLARA, Calif. - When speaking to the media Wednesday for the first time since Aldon Smith's release, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick denied rumors floated by gossip websites that his relationship with Smith played a role in his recent arrest.
Last week, Smith was arrested for driving under the influence for the third time since 2012, and was released by the 49ers the following morning. It was Smith's fifth run-in with the law since joining the team. He was also charged with a hit-and-run and vandalism.
"I was good friends with Aldon," Kaepernick said. "He had just come to my camp, to my golf tournament for Camp Taylor this passed June to show support and help the kids out.
"It’s really tragic. I wish him the best and I hope he’s doing well. I hope everything turns out for him and he can get back on track. The biggest thing is, I know this team misses him and misses his presence here."
TMZ reported a fight between Smith and Kaepernick on the practice field Thursday, before Smith was arrested later that night.
But the 49ers had a scheduled day off and did not have practice. League rules stipulate players are not required to attend the team's practice facility on their day off. It was San Francisco's first off day of training camp.
Reports said Smith vandalized a Mercedes driven by Kaepernick, leading to arrest. Kaepernick, who has an endorsement deal with Jaguar, refuted.
"I wouldn’t be driving a Mercedes," Kaepernick said. "I would also realize that we didn’t practice on Thursday, so no one was at the facility. Along those lines, I feel like anyone that believes that, or goes about that, or is reporting that, just doesn’t have the best integrity, in my mind.
"To try to prey on athletes’ livelihoods, while one is going through a tough time is really is embarrassing for me, for people that report that and put that out there, and jump on that bandwagon, just to get internet clicks and get attention to their website or reports. It really is embarrassing that people do that."