Colin Kaepernick's parents have decided to break their silence.
Teresa and Rick Kaepernick wrote a letter to ESPN's The Undefeated on Friday, addressing their son's "strength and courage" for standing up for his beliefs.
"Colin is carrying a heavy load and following a difficult path that he truly believes in. He is putting his entire future and possibly his life on the line for those beliefs," the Kaepernicks wrote.
"As his parents, it pains us to read articles and tweets saying that his family does not support him; this could not be further from the truth. 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."
Since the preseason, Kaepernick has been under fire for kneeling during the national anthem to protest what he sees as the oppression of black people in the United States.
The San Francisco 49ers quarterback has stressed it isn't a barb at the military, but an effort to bring more awareness to racism in America.
However, Admiral Harry Harris took a jab at Kaepernick on Pearl Harbor's 75th anniversary on Wednesday, saying, "You can bet that the men and women we honour today - and those who died that fateful morning 75 years ago - never took a knee and never failed to stand whenever they heard our national anthem being played."
Kaepernick's parents' statement read: "Colin has chosen to kneel for the national anthem as a protest to the continuing racial inequality in this country. He has explained his reasons for this in multiple interviews, yet it seems some people still do not understand his point.
"For whatever reason, there are some who want to view this as an anti-military protest or an un-American stance. These views could not be further from the truth, but we know that people will believe what they wish to believe.
"The recent remarks (attacks) by Admiral Harris supported by the Pentagon are over the top, and we feel the desire to make a public statement in support of our son."
The Kaepernicks, who are white, adopted biracial Colin when he was a baby after his 19-year-old white mother gave him up for adoption. They said they were surprised when Kaepernick took a knee during the preseason, but the amount of racism and hatred directed at him made them see that racism remains an issue in America.
"Colin not only received terrible racist tweets, but also received letters directly to our home similar to that recently received by [Denver Broncos linebacker] Brandon Marshall," the family's statement continued.
"We were truly shocked at the amount of racist hatred out there. Until this had occurred, we had naively believed that the racial atmosphere in this country was far better than it actually is. Prayer and talks with our son gave us a much better understanding of the reason for his protest and how we should view it."