Colin Kaepernick was adopted by white parents. The story has been well publicized. It’s interesting. Rick Reilly saw this and then decided to badger him about it at the Super Bowl and to chastise him for not wanting contact with her for his ESPN column. What…the…fuck?
Reilly connects with the story through his daughter Rae, who was adopted from Korea. Rae met her birth mother, discovered some of her roots and had a brief, but fulfilling experience. That might have made for a fine column, one a writer with Reilly’s talent could have nailed. The problem comes when he projects that story onto Kaepernick.
But Colin hasn’t budged on the issue. One of his friends told Yahoo! Sports that Colin would think it’s “treasonous” to meet with Russo.
But it’s not. It’s healthy. It’s healing. It’s natural.
More than that, it’s important. When that 11-year-old version of Rae finally got to meet her birth mother, even though it was only for 20 minutes, she glowed. Her roots were no longer a mystery. She finally knew where she came from.
Your parents are your parents forever. Nothing can ever change that.
But you can’t imagine what it would mean, how deeply it would be felt, for a woman with regrets and doubts to once again hold her child, even for five seconds. A meeting like that could fill two hearts.
It is natural for an adopted child to be curious. That does not mean every adopted child does or should feel that way. My father was adopted. He never talked about it unless prompted. He never reached out to or researched his birth parents. He never seemed interested. His roots were with the family that raised him. His parents were his parents. That’s not “unhealthy.”
Adoption is intensely personal. How you define your family is fundamental to how you define yourself. Every person tackles that differently. There’s no right or wrong way, which is why this is not 800-word column fodder. How Colin Kaepernick handles his relationship with his birth mother is his business. This has relevance to no one but himself and his family.
Kaepernick is a public figure, though crawling this far into his personal sphere because you saw an angle and could get a couple of quotations is callous. Ambushing him about it at Super Bowl Media Day is cruel. Presuming it is your prerogative to dispense unsolicited advice about it is just arrogant. This is column writing at its worst.
[Photo via Getty, Rick Reilly with Lennay Kekua via @ReillyRick]