Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick has spent the last several years complaining about racism in America — and as he embarks on a publicity tour for his new graphic novel memoir, “Change the Game,” he’s turning the accusations of racism against his own white adoptive parents.
Kaepernick joined “CBS Mornings” to discuss the book and the message he hoped it would convey — and he argued that when his mother had been opposed to him getting his hair done in cornrows, she had been “perpetuating racism.”
Colin @Kaepernick7 accuses his parents of “problematic” behavior raising him, saying they were “perpetuating racism,” such as when his mother didn’t want him getting cornrows pic.twitter.com/NFXnLeLGXX
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) March 9, 2023
“Growing up I was a — I think still am — a pretty introverted person,” Kaepernick said of his decision to portray himself in the graphic novel as an insecure teenager going through the same kinds of stresses faced by any high school student. “I hope it’s true to form, and that’s just kind of how I navigate the world.”
The story follows a young Kaepernick as he tries to “embrace his blackness” despite resistance from a number of outside sources — “even his adoptive parents.”
“I know my parents love me, but there were still very problematic things that I went through,” Kaepernick continued. “I think it was important to show that, no, this can happen in your own home. And how we move forward collectively, addressing the racism that is being perpetuated.”
Kaepernick said that the conflict came to a head over his hair — he wanted cornrows because he idolized basketball player Allen Iverson, who he said “wore his blackness like a suit of armor.” His mother was against the idea, he said, claiming that she had told him it looked “not professional” and made him “look like a little thug.”
“Those become spaces where it’s like, okay, how do I navigate this situation now?” Kaepernick explained, adding, “But it also has informed why I have my hair long today.”
Kaepernick concluded by saying that he still wanted to play professional football, claiming, “That passion is still there. And the ability is still there.”
While the former 49ers quarterback has worked out with a few teams since leaving the NFL, he has not played professionally since his national anthem protest took on a life of its own.