Colin Kaepernick said Thursday that he encountered racism in his own home as he came of age. (Watch the video below.)
In an appearance to promote his graphic novel memoir “Change the Game,” the activist and former NFL quarterback told “CBS Mornings” that he knows his adoptive parents, who are white, love him.
“But there were still very problematic things that I went through,” he said. “I think it was important to show that ... this can happen in your own home and how we move forward collectively while addressing the racism that is being perpetuated.”
CBS News journalist Adriana Diaz noted a scene in the book in which Kaepernick’s mother questions his desire to wear cornrows like his hero, former NBA star Allen Iverson.
“He’s getting what rolls?” his mother says in one panel.
Kaepernick told Diaz that his mother made comments such as “Oh, your hair’s not professional. You look like a little thug.”
He said that the comments are part of why he now wears his hair long.
Kaepernick said his hope for the book is that young Black readers will “embrace their Blackness” and “seize their power.”
“Take pride in your Blackness, take pride in your culture”: @Kaepernick7 hopes his new graphic novel inspires young people to “seize their power” by reading about his real-life experiences in high school, when he learned to embrace his Blackness, despite some resistance. pic.twitter.com/Ug6Kozy4wf— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) March 9, 2023
Kaepernick’s budding self-awareness eventually led him to spark fierce debate in 2016 when he began kneeling for the national anthem at his games to protest racial injustice and police brutality.
His parents, Rick and Teresa Kaepernick, voiced their support later that year.
“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,” they said in a statement.
It would be the last season he would play in the NFL. Kaepernick, who guided the San Francisco 49ers to the 2013 Super Bowl, later settled a lawsuit accusing the NFL of blackballing him for his activism. He said he still trains five or six days a week in the hopes of returning.
“That passion is still there and that ability is still there,” he said.
HuffPost was unable to reach Rick and Teresa Kaepernick for comment.