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Firing Back: The Colin Kaepernick Garbage Column and My Unnecessary Response

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

By now you’ve probably heard about AOL Fanhouse columnist David Whitley and the garbage he upchucked on the internet on Wednesday.

And if you haven’t, you really didn’t miss much. At least in terms of quality.

As you’ll see in the following recount of his so-called journalism, Whitley marinades his writing with ridiculous antique portrayal of a football player and serves it up with a heaping pile of racial profiling.

I understand that what I’m about to do is exactly what a guy like Whitley craves in terms of attention, shock, and awe. But screw it. Color me weak. And annoyed.

Just remember, this guy gets paid to write this.

Whitley’s article accompanied with my own rubbish:

San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick is going to be a big-time NFL quarterback. That must make the guys in San Quentin happy.

Just 22 words into the piece and you’re already telling yourself, “so this should be good.”

Approximately 98.7 percent of the inmates at California’s state prison have tattoos. I don’t know that as fact, but I’ve watched enough “Lockup” to know it’s close to accurate.

This was likely meant to be a joke. Unfortunately for Whitley, it wasn’t a very funny one. And that’s before you even get to the fatty and unhealthy substance of the article.

I’m also pretty sure less than 1.3 percent of NFL quarterbacks have tattoos. There’s a reason for that.

With only 32 teams in the NFL and, say, two quarterbacks per squad, that’s about 64 quarterbacks. This irrelevant statistic is likely easier to record and verify than the number of inmates with tattoos at San Quentin penitentiary. But whatever.

Why would anyone compare a professional sports league and a prison, anyway? Read on.

NFL quarterback is the ultimate position of influence and responsibility. He is the CEO of a high-profile organization, and you don’t want your CEO to look like he just got paroled.

While I won’t disagree with an NFL quarterback being more of a CEO figure than the actual team owner or general manager himself, I will disagree with the hasty generalization that all people with tattoos are on parole. Or that all people who tote body art, regardless of their profession, are criminals in one form or another.

It’s at this precise moment that you realize the rest of the content will probably read like racial propaganda of the 1940′s.

Now along comes Kaepernick. Since taking over for Alex Smith two games ago, he has convinced everybody in the Bay area that he’s the second coming of Steve Young.

Even when Whitley’s not racially profiling, he’s still ignorant. As great as Colin Kaepernick has been thus far, no one is crowning the young man after two games. Steve Young is a legend and Hall of Fame quarterback. Kaepernick is a young athlete chasing that status and with a long way to go. Even die hard 49er’s fans know that.

Smith is coming back from a concussion, ushering in the attendant QB controversy. But he is looking like Wally Pipp and Kaepernick is Lou Gehrig. All I can do is look in the mirror and sigh.

Cue Wally Pipp reference No. 4,956,174. I get it. It’s fun.

But why is Whitley checking himself out in the mirror and sighing?

Forgive me, but I suffer from tattoo-ism. I sport no ink, and I don’t want any. I know that attitude qualifies me for an AARP card, and I’ve tried to get with it.

Not liking tattoos is one thing. Tying tattoos to felons and thugs is another.

So now, at its core, we have some old school white guy hating on tattoos, the current generation of athletes, and comparing them to murderers, rapists, and thieves. Makes sense I guess.

I realize tattoos are ways to pay homage to your religion, children and motorcycle gang. I’m cool with LeBron James looking like an Etch A Sketch.

Except you’re not okay with LeBron James. You suffer from tattoo-sim, Whitley. Remember?

Man, oh man! Are the Hells Angels gonna get you good, mister!

I still cringe when I go to the gym and see middle-aged women with barbed wire circling their biceps. They have bigger arms than I, so I never make fun. But I can’t shake the notion that a person’s body is a temple, and you don’t cover temples in graffiti.

Ahhh, the ol’ barbed wire-likely-to-picket fence joke. That one never gets old, right? …Guys?

And let me just tell you, if I had a temple, I’d do whatever the hell I want to it. If I thought art on the exterior was better looking than brick or mortor, I’d have a professional on it the next day. But for the record, I don’t sport any tattoos.

For dinosaurs like me, NFL quarterbacks were our little Dutch boys. The original hero stuck his finger in the dyke to save Holland. Pro QBs were the last line of defense against the raging sea of ink. When our kids said they wanted a tattoo, we could always point to the Manning brothers.

Prehistoric creature indeed.

When your kids are in search of a role model, why steer them towards athletes anyway? It’s unrealistic. Not only will your child never come in contact with and have a useful conversation with that athlete, but your child’s chances of actually becoming a professional athlete are like playing the state lottery.

Why not, as a father, serve as your child’s role model and mentor? Your inkless body should be the standard, Mr. Whitley.

My guess is Archie would have made Peyton throw an extra 1,000 passes before dinner if he’d come home with a tattoo. The old man knew QBs are different.

Peyton Manning would’ve gladly thrown an extra 2,000 passes if that’s what was asked — the guy bleeds football. If Peyton wanted a tattoo, he would have a tattoo.

But if he did, would he too be a felon and compared to those residing in San Quentin, Mr. Whitley?

Did Sammy Baugh, Johnny Unitas, Doug Williams or Joe Montana have arms covered in ink? Do Tom Brady, Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers? The world will end when Tim Tebow shows up a tattoo parlor.

Dude, Sammy Baugh played in the 1930′s. Seriously?

Believe it or not, things tend to change over an 80-year span. Two of the quarterbacks you listed played in a segregated America, for crying out loud.

And the world ended when Tim Tebow started playing in the NFL. Everybody knows that. We’re all just waiting for the sink hole at this point.

It’s not just a white thing, I hope. When the Panthers interviewed Cam Newton, owner Jerry Richardson popped the question. “Do you have any tattoos?” he asked. “No, sir,” Newton said. “I don’t have any.” “We want to keep it that way,” Richardson said.

Jerry Richardson is a 76-year old white male from the South (a dinosaur, if you will). No surprise that he doesn’t prefer tattoos.

But let’s say Cam Newton did have tattoos. I guess he’s not the No. 1 draft pick in that case, huh?

Richardson doesn’t make this statement to Newton if the young man had tattoos to begin with. But since he doesn’t, he’s off to a good start in the old man’s eyes and Richardson expresses his desire for it to stay that way. That doesn’t mean Richardson’s a bigot. He saw an opportunity to lend his two cents before Newton went out and got his first tattoo. That’s it.

He was OK with body art on other players, including the human canvas that is Jeremy Shockey. But Newton would be the face, arms and legs of the franchise. The boss didn’t want them covered in ink lines.

Because quarterbacks are the CEOs, Mr. Whitley. Dammit, you’re good.

“Let’s keep it that way,” he [Richardson] told Newton.

Yeah! Or else we’ll release you from the team because a record-breaking rookie season isn’t worth a hoot if it comes by way of a tattooed arm. Gross!

I realize not all NFL quarterbacks are pristine. Ben Roethlisberger has a “COURAGE” tattoo on the right side of his upper body. Smith has one honoring his Serbian heritage. They can’t be seen when the players put on their uniforms.

Thank goodness. Otherwise Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney might take Big Ben out back and shoot him — just to see how much ’courage’ the ol’ signal-caller has when he’s facing the death penalty for having tattoos.

Then there are Michael Vick and Terrelle Pryor. Neither exactly fit the CEO image, unless your CEO has done a stretch in Leavenworth or has gotten Ohio State on probation over free tattoos.

Oh no! Not the dog fighter. Quick, Mr. Whitley, RUN! Michael Vick is ruining the quarterback position FOR-EH-VER.

Has Whitley heard of Ryan Leaf — the guy that was drafted No. 2-overall in 1998 and was selected to be the franchise ‘CEO’ of the San Diego Chargers for the next decade and then some?

Using my David Whitley fact checking technique, I’d be willing to bet Leaf didn’t have any tattoo sleeves. And what happened to him? He couldn’t make it in the NFL via talent or attitude, seemingly falling off the face of the planet and is now serving time for burglary because he’s addicted to oxycotin out in Montana somewhere.

Damn tattoos.

That’s what makes Kaepernick a threat to the stereotype. By all accounts, he’s polite, hard working, humble and has never been to prison. He sounds more like a Tebow who can throw.

If by all accounts Kaepernick is polite, hard working, humble and jail-free, then you’re admitting to your prejudice. You have no leg to stand on, Whitley.

Not to get too far ahead of ourselves here, but it’s not hard to envision him leading the 49ers into the playoffs. If not this season, in the years to come. His ink-covered arms will one day raise the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Imagine the impact that could have.

I just imagined it. It’d be a guy with tattoos hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.

I also just checked my pulse. I am still living.

For one thing, Jerry Richardson would clutch his chest in horror. At the next Pro Bowl, you might spot Peyton by the pool with a Papa John’s logo on his ankle. Sigh again.

You’re right. Jerry Richardson probably would clutch his chest in horror. But not because of the tattoos. More so because he could’ve used his No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft and traded back, selected a defensive stud (Watt, Peterson, Smith, Kerrigan), and still manage to snag a Super Bowl winning quarterback like Colin Kaepernick in the second round.

He’d clutch his chest because his team is terrible. The tattoos on Kaepernick’s arms would be the least of his horror.

I still think tattoo removal is going to be huge industry in the coming years. But for now, I might as well accept that Holland is probably doomed.

Have you ever seen the remnants of laser tattoo removal, sir? If anything, the tattoo business will double-dip and take off even more because covering tattoo mistakes with additional tattoos is easier and less painful than removal. Don’t you have cable, Mr. Dinosaur?

If you can’t draw the tattoo line at NFL quarterback, you can’t draw them anywhere.

Because it’s 2012 and the world changes. Tattoos won’t result in the apocalypse.

Meanwhile, the Middle East remains in complete turmoil. Maybe Mr. Whitley can search ‘Israel’ from his GeoCities account.

David Whitley’s opinion is not reflective of the opinion of AOL, Inc.

Well that’s good. But this bullshit passed some editor’s desk.

 

The Author

Shae

Ringmaster at Bet Big DC, Shae is a devout food enthusiast who soaks in the misery of yelling at the TV from the couch. He takes pride in schrewd sports investing, is a sucker for the arts and is brimming with useless pop culture knowledge. When he’s not drudging away behind his outdated laptop, Shae enjoys eating, traveling and rooting for teams that usually don’t win

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