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Commentary: Colin Kaepernick's biological mother cheers from afar

By Monte Poole, The Oakland Tribune Published: December 6, 2012
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That's something she conveyed when she met with the Kaepernicks three months ago in Denver, where the 49ers were playing the Broncos in a preseason game.

Again, understand that Russo's desire for a relationship does not come across as a case of a negligent mom materializing in hopes of hitching a ride on the fame train. She has followed him from a distance for years. She was emotionally alongside well before Colin rocketed to fame 17 days ago with a spectacular performance in his first start on the massive national stage that is Monday Night Football.

When Colin asked about his father, Russo reached out to the man from her past. She got nowhere. No response. She has moved on for now, perhaps for good if her sharp comment is any indication.

“I never got a response,” she says flatly. “He has denied him for 25 years, so nothing has changed.”

So this is, for Russo, a deeply personal crusade of sorts.

She's close enough to be irritated by the furor in the wake of a Sporting News column last week implying Colin's copious tattoos represent a criminal lifestyle or a prison mentality — when there is no public evidence of any such behavior.

“It's upsetting to see negative comments written and said about a kid who is doing amazing things,” she says. “You don't judge a kid by his tattoos. It's just somebody wanting to say something negative about someone who is doing positive things.”

Russo believes she did the right thing at the time, giving up Colin when she did. But she never stopped thinking about him. Having given birth to another child — he's now 8 years old — she wonders how things might have turned out had she been more prepared in 1987.

“I made my call on Colin a long time ago,” she says. “I have to live with that.

”It's his life. The Kaepernicks have been great. They have given Colin everything he could want and more. They were able to raise him in the same kind of athletic environment that I grew up in. I wanted him to have a great life and that's what he has.“

Russo is simultaneously content and unfulfilled. She accepts less but wants more. She is a fan who follows Kaepernick and a mother who loves her biological son.

That will have to be enough until the day, should it come, Colin decides otherwise.

MCT Information Services


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