WASHINGTON (TND) — Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick accused his adoptive white parents of engaging in "problematic" behaviors when they were raising him, adding that at times they were "perpetuating racism."
In an interview with CBS News on Thursday, in which Kaepernick was promoting his new graphic novel "Change the Game," the former professional football star recalled some arguments and instances with his adoptive parents that he attributed to racial insensitivity or ignorance.
I know my parents loved me. But there were still very problematic things that I went through," Kaepernick told 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."
One example of a "problematic" thing that Kaepernick recalls going through is featured in his new graphic novel, he says. It involves a disagreement and subsequent fight he had with his adoptive parents over a new hairstyle he got in high school.
Kaepernick says that he was inspired to braid his hair into cornrows like his hero, NBA star Allen Iverson. His parents were not fans of the hairstyle, the former NFL quarterback recalls.
After getting the hairstyle, Kaepernick says that his adoptive mother told him that his hair was "not professional" and that he "looked like a little thug."
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback says it was interactions like that with his parents that led him to embrace his ethnicity more during his NFL career.
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 News.
Kaepernick has become a famous social justice advocate. He is perhaps best known for kneeling during the national anthem at NFL games to protest civil rights injustices and police brutality of Black people across the U.S. during the 2016 season.
His protest was reportedly originally in response to the police killing of Marlo Woods in 2015. However, as time moved forward and more police killings of Black people in America occurred, the reason for Kaepernick's protests only grew, as did his following.
Many believe Kaepernick's football career was harmed, or at least stunted, by his social justice activities. The 49ers parted ways after the 2016 season, and the former NFL star was never signed to another team, despite his efforts.
Critics would argue that the NFL simply moved on from him and that his skill as a player simply diminished over time, making him increasingly undesirable to teams. However, Kaepernick and his fans beg to differ, with the former football star later partnering with Nike to release an ad that said "believe in something. even if it means sacrificing everything."
The new graphic novel from Kaepernick is just the latest media product put out by the former football star.
In a recent Netflix special released in November 2022, Kaepernick compared the NFL Draft to a "slave auction" despite the fact that the former 49ers quarterback was still training "five, six days a week" to "take a team to a Super Bowl again."
Kaepernick also started the Colin Kaepernick Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes anti-racism among youths.