We can’t imagine what it felt like to hear President Donald Trump call you a “bitch,” just to get some cheap applause at a campaign rally. No woman deserves that. But to those of us in the San Joaquin 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.
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 some, enrage others.
When Colin was still young, you moved from Wisconsin to California. You got him involved in sports and supported him on the baseball diamonds and gridirons. You sat in the bleachers at Pitman High then took countless road trips to Reno to see him play at Nevada.
You cheered as he dazzled fans at every level. As his fame grew, you shared him with the ever-present eyes of the public and press.
When he joined the San Francisco 49ers, the team he cheered for as a child, the scrutiny grew a hundred times more intense. When he took them to the Super Bowl, that scrutiny increased a hundredfold. Through it all, he frequently came home to the Valley to raise money for charities, inspired by his family.
It was easy then. Harder, perhaps, when Colin chose to wade into the national debate over police brutality. By kneeling on the sidelines during the national anthem at 49ers games, he challenged Americans to confront racism, or at least think about it. Not surprisingly, some Americans were outraged. Colin became a target – both for the racist yahoos among Trump’s core supporters, and for the football fans who think kneeling is an insult to the American military.
The NFL’s owners, gutless in the face of criticism, blackballed Colin, cutting short what had been a promising career.
Yet, your little Colin bore all of that with strength, class and determination. No whining.
People aren’t born with such qualities; they learn them at home. Like the home you made in Turlock.
Then this. The president went off-script Friday and implied your son was 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 young man who is just shy of fulfilling a pledge to donate $1 million to charity. For that, the NFL Players Association gave him an award, even though he’s not playing. This is man who is helping fight famine in Somalia. 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 who spends time with kids at Camp Taylor, a charity that helps kids with heart disease. He has a soft spot for the organization because you lost two infants to heart disease before adopting him.
Guess we know where Colin got some of his steel.
We know what this president thinks of women, we’ve seen what he does to those he perceives as weak. He made a mistake, this time.
Moral courage isn’t taught on football fields; it arises from families with parents like you. Proud you’re living among us.