Colin Kaepernick is a name that has become synonymous with the ongoing fight for racial justice and equality in America. The former NFL quarterback made headlines in 2016 when he refused to stand for the national anthem, taking a knee instead, as a form of peaceful protest against police brutality and systemic racism in the country. Since then, Kaepernick has faced backlash and criticism from many, including the NFL and political leaders, for his actions. However, amidst the controversy, Kaepernick has also found support from those who share his beliefs, including his adoptive white parents.
Kaepernick was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to a 19-year-old single mother who put him up for adoption. He was later adopted by Rick and Teresa Kaepernick, a white couple in California, who raised him alongside their two biological children. Growing up, Kaepernick was aware of his racial identity but never fully grasped the implications of being a black man in America until later in life.
It was during Kaepernick’s time playing football at the University of Nevada that he started to become more socially and politically conscious. He began reading books about race and oppression, attending protests and rallies, and even started a program to help low-income families in Wisconsin. However, Kaepernick’s awakening did not sit well with everyone in his family, particularly his adoptive mother, Teresa.
In his memoir, “Abandoned by Football, Saved by the Savior,” Kaepernick wrote about the difficult conversations he had with his mother about his new beliefs. “My adoptive mother disagreed with my views on racism and police brutality, and we had many debates about these issues,” he explained. “It was not easy for either of us.”
Teresa, who is a devout Christian, had a hard time reconciling Kaepernick’s views with her conservative beliefs. She reportedly struggled with the idea that her son was “disrespecting” the American flag and the military by kneeling during the national anthem. However, Kaepernick maintained that his protest was not meant to be disrespectful, but rather a way to bring attention to the issues that affect black Americans.
In an interview with USA Today, Teresa said that while she doesn’t agree with everything Kaepernick does, she still loves and supports him. “I see Colin as a person — a person I love deeply,” she stated. “And I’m really proud of him for standing up for what he believes in.”
Despite the disagreements, Kaepernick has credited his adoptive parents for instilling in him the values of hard work and community service. In fact, it was his adoptive father, Rick, who introduced him to football and encouraged him to pursue it as a career. Kaepernick also described his parents as “some of the most selfless people I know,” who opened their home to foster children and dedicated their time to helping those in need.
Kaepernick’s relationship with his adoptive parents highlights the complex nature of discussing race and racism within families. As white parents, Rick and Teresa likely did not fully understand the experiences of their black son and the realities of being black in America. However, Kaepernick has also acknowledged the love and support they have shown him throughout his life.
The Kaepernick family’s story is a reminder that conversations about race and racism, particularly in interracial families, can be difficult but necessary. It’s crucial to have open and honest discussions about these topics to better understand the experiences and perspectives of those who come from different backgrounds.
Colin Kaepernick’s decision to protest police brutality and systemic racism in America may have sparked controversy and backlash from some, but it has also started important conversations about these issues. As Kaepernick continues to advocate for racial justice and equality, he does so with the support of his adoptive parents, who may not always agree with him but still love and stand by him. It’s an example of how families can come together despite their differences and work towards a common goal of creating a more just and equitable society.