Controversial footballer Colin Kaepernick has accused his adoptive white parents of "perpetuating racism" and claimed that he had to face "very problematic things" while growing up in their house. The former NFL great told CBS Chicago that growing up in a "problematic" home was difficult for him and he had to struggle.
Kaepernick makes these claims in his upcoming graphic novel, "Change the Game." Rick and Teresa Kaepernick, a white couple from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, adopted Kaepernick when he was an infant. The couple relocated to Turlock, California, when he was four. They had two other children but also lost two biological sons to congenital heart problems.
Racism in Family
The former NFL player, who spearheaded the take-a-knee movement, claims that while he was aware of their "love" for him, there were also "very problematic things" he had to deal with.
"I know my parents loved me, but there were still very problematic things that I went through," Kaepernick said.
"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."
The graphic novel chronicles Kaepernick's transition from high school to his illustrious sports career, with a focus on his limited options for the future. There were frequent arguments between him and their adoptive kid as a result of his parents' attempts to steer him in a direction they believed was best.
One of these arguments depicted in the book involved a fight about his hairdo.
In an effort to emulate basketball player Allen Iverson, Kaepernick wanted to embrace his black identity by donning cornrows, but his mother objected.
He alleges she told him he "looked like a little thug" when he showed her the hairstyle. "I know my parents loved me. But there were still very problematic things that I went through," Kaepernick said.
Kaepernick claimed that the chat with his mother had continued to affect him decades later, even shaping his now-famous afro haircut. "It also is informed why I have my hair long today," Kaepernick said during the interview.
Opening Up About His Problems
In addition to not publicly responding, Kaepernick's parents have also not discussed his anti-racism campaign.
Kaepernick's parents wrote a gushy ESPN piece about how happy they were to have him home before he started his protest against the NFL. "It all went very smoothly," said his father, who spent the majority of his career as a corporate executive at a cheese firm.
"I know it's not usually that smooth with adoptions, but it was. Colin never had any adoption issues at all.
"The only difference is his skin is a little bit browner than ours."
His biological mother, who was 19 at the time, decided to give him up When he was five weeks old. Kaepernick attended California's John H. Pitman High School, Turlock, a public high school where he was a football star.
He later received a football scholarship to attend the University of Nevada in Reno, where he eventually graduated in 2011. After graduation, he signed with the San Francisco 49ers.
Kaepernick claimed that the absence of racial harmony in his own home prompted him to look for community elsewhere.
In fact, this was one of the reasons he chose football as there were a lot more black players in the NFL than in baseball which too he could have easily pursued.
Since being suspended in 2016 for protesting racial inequality and police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem, Kaepernick hasn't been back on the field. He still aspires to do