After Colin Kaepernick’s birth mother condemned him for protesting the national anthem in August, the San Fransisco 49ers quarterback’s adoptive parents revealed they fully support their son. Atlanta Black Star reported Heidi Russo, the athlete’s biological mother, declared Kaepernick could “make change without disrespecting and bringing shame” to the nation. But unlike Russo, Teresa and Rick Kaepernick are ending their months-long silence to back the star.
According to a statement the couple issued to The Undefeated, the Kaepernicks felt compelled to publicly back the NFLer after continuing to read that they don’t support their son. The move was capped by U.S. Pacific Command Commander Adm. Harry Harris’ statements dissing Kaepernick indirectly during a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor’s attack.
“You can bet that the men and women we honor today — and those who died that fateful morning 75 years ago — never took a knee and never failed to stand whenever they heard our national anthem being played,” Harris said.
Regardless, the Kaepernicks stand behind their famous son.
“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,” the statement read in part after acknowledging Kaepernick is risking his life and career in the process.
“Colin has chosen to kneel for the national anthem as a protest to the continuing racial inequality in this country,” the statement continued. “He has explained his reasons for this in multiple interviews, yet it seems some people still do not understand his point. For whatever reason, there are some who want to view this as an anti-military protest or an un-American stance. These views could not be further from the truth, but we know that people will believe what they wish to believe.”
Such detractors include sports commentators like Fox’s Jason Whitlock and athletes like Shaquille O’Neal. Although Kaepernick’s parents didn’t understand his protest at first and felt “overwhelmed with the public reaction and hate,” they learned a major lesson about racism in America.
“We were truly shocked at the amount of racist hatred out there!” the statement said. “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.”