Former NFL quarterback Colin Kapernick, who was adopted at 5 weeks old, accused his white adoptive parents of “perpetuating racism” in an interview that aired Thursday on CBS.
Kaepernick was adopted as an infant by Rick and Teresa Kaepernick, a white couple from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. They moved to Turlock, California when he was four.
Kaepernick talked about coming to terms with his racial identity while growing up in a white family in his new graphic novel, “Change the Game.” The former football player recalled disagreements with his parents that he attributed to racism, calling his upbringing “problematic.”
“I know my parents loved me. But there were still very problematic things that I went through,” the biracial quarterback, who led the charge with the take-a-knee movement, said to CBS News.
“I think it was important to show that, no, this can happen in your own home, and how we move forward collectively while addressing the racism that is being perpetuated,” he added.
NY Post report: Kaepernick illustrated one specific example of this in the novel, depicting a fight he had with his parents during high school over his hairstyle.
Inspired to braid his hair in cornrows like his hero, NBA star Allen Iverson, Kaepernick recalled receiving pushback from his parents.
“He’s getting what rolls?” his mom says in the graphic novel.
Kaepernick said that after styling his hair this way, his mom warned that his hair was “not professional” and he “looked like a little thug.”
The former football player-turned-social justice activist said these teenage interactions helped shape his decisions as an adult to embrace his ethnicity.
“Those become spaces where it’s like, ‘Okay, how do I navigate the situation now?’ But it also has informed why I have my hair long today,” Kaepernick told CBS.
The former San Francisco 49er drew national attention when he started protesting the national anthem, kneeling on the field during NFL games to protest police brutality and racism.
Since then, he has partnered with Netflix for a docudrama series based on his life, and with Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for its non-dairy flavor “Change the Whirled.” He has also made endorsement deals with Nike and other major companies over the years.
by Baxter Dmitry
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