Colin Kaepernick has been going through the grinder for much of the past four months following his decision to take a knee during the National Anthem. There has been a broad mix of support and criticism as he moves his way through what are extremely complicated issues in America.
Throughout this, there have been questions raised about how his parents view his protest. Kaepernick is bi-racial but was adopted by a white family. There have been multiple stories about the support they have provided him since he was a child, and so it should surprise nobody they support their son and the beliefs he is demonstrating for and speaking about.
The family released a statement to The Undefeated, an ESPN owned site that describes itself as, “the premier platform for exploring the intersections of race, sports and culture.” You can read the full statement here, but I thought I would pull out some notable parts of it.
"Colin is carrying a heavy load and following a difficult path that he truly believes in. He is putting his entire future and possibly his life on the line for those beliefs. As his parents, it pains us to read articles and tweets saying that his family does not support him; this could not be further from the truth. We want people to know that we are very proud of our son and admire his strength and courage in kneeling for the rights of others."
There has been plenty of debate about the subjects Kaepernick raises, and of course, the method with which he has drawn attention. However, beyond basic responses about the topics, we have seen extensive racial attacks. Kaepernick has acknowledged he has received death threats beyond just social media. Other players have joined in taking a knee or raising a fist during the Anthem, and they too have dealt with threats. Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall, a teammate of Kaepernick’s at Nevada, posted a picture of a disturbing letter he received from a truly awful human being.
Kaepernick’s parents admitted surprise when Kaepernick was first seen taking a knee. They did not understand why he was doing it, but then were overwhelmed by the hate spewed against him.
“Colin not only received terrible racist tweets, but also received letters directly to our home similar to that recently received by [Denver Broncos linebacker] Brandon Marshall," the family's statement read. "We were truly shocked at the amount of racist hatred out there! Until this had occurred, we had naively believed that the racial atmosphere in this country was far better than it actually is. Prayer and talks with our son gave us a much better understanding of the reason for his protest and how we should view it."
This all comes a few days after a Navy Admiral called out Kaepernick during a Pearl Harbor commemoration ceremony. The comments, along with the since deleted tweet from the Department of Defense supporting the comments were among the reasons Rick and Teresa Kaepernick decided to speak up.
Fooch’s update: I missed that three months ago his brother posted support on Instagram.