Dear Mrs. Kaepernick,
We can’t imagine what it felt like to hear President Donald Trump call you a “bitch,” just to get some cheap laughs and cheers at a campaign rally. No woman deserves to be called that. But to those of us in the Central Valley, those of us who know your story, there’s something particularly egregious about insulting you, the proud Modesto mother of a proud Turlock son.
You are an admirable woman who spent her life sacrificing for her family.
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Thirty years ago, you and your husband, Rick, adopted Colin from a teenager who wasn’t ready to be a mother. He was 5 weeks old and you called him “our little Colin.” It didn’t matter that you were white, and he was biracial and would someday grow an Afro that would both inspire and enrage millions.
When Colin was still young, you moved from Wisconsin to California for a better life. You got him involved in sports and supported him as became one of the top quarterbacks in the country.
You cheered as he dazzled fans at the University of Nevada, Reno. You selflessly shared him with the ever-present eyes of the public and the press as he joined the NFL, leading the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl. And then, perhaps at the height of his popularity, you stood by Colin’s side as he chose to wade into the tumultuous national debate over police brutality.
By kneeling on the sidelines during the national anthem at each 49ers game, he challenged a cross-section of Americans to confront racism. Not surprisingly, many Americans didn’t like that. Colin made himself a target – both for the racist yahoos who are among Trump’s core supporters, and for the football fans who think kneeling is an insult to the American flag and the military. The NFL, meanwhile, has blackballed Colin, cutting short what had been a promising career.
Through all of this, the booing, the name-calling, you haven’t shied away. And what did you get for your sacrifice? The president went off-script on Friday and called your son a “son of a bitch.”
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now.’ ” he said. “ ‘Out! He’s fired!’ ”
This is the “son of a bitch” who is just shy of a pledge to donate $1 million to various charities. For that, the National Football League Players Association gave him an award. And this is Colin, who is helping fight famine in Somalia.
This is also the “son of a bitch,” who went around the country putting on “Know Your Rights” camps to teach kids about how to interact with police. And Colin, who spends time with kids at Camp Taylor, a Salida charity that helps kids with heart disease. He has a soft spot for the organization because you lost two kids to heart disease before adopting him.
We know what the president thinks about women. But you, Mrs. Kaepernick, are a great mother. You don’t deserve to be called anything less. Nor do the sons of other moms deserve to subjected to brain-damage. Trump thinks preventing CTE is “ruining” the NFL. You know, because he’s tougher than they are.
We know the NFL is popular, but moral courage isn’t found as much on the gridiron as it is in communities that have moms like you. So here’s to you Mrs. Kaepernick.
Editor’s note: Editorials from other newspapers are offered to stimulate debate and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Tribune.