Colin Kaepernick‘s arms are full of tattoos. This, apparently, ensures that the San Francisco 49ers quarterback will never, ever be a legitimate hero for the NFL or the 49ers even. It also means that the golden age of good old boys under center in the National Football League is just about over.
That’s what it sounds like AOL Fanhouse columnist David Whitley thinks, at least.
The out-of-touch columnist penned a puzzling piece on Thursday centered entirely around Kaepernick’s ink.
“NFL quarterback is the ultimate position of influence and responsibility,” he writes. “He is the CEO of a high-profile organization, and you don’t want your CEO to look like he just got paroled.”
Whitley tries to cloak his ignorant criticisms underneath a hatred of tattoos, even calling himself a “dinosaur.” Of course, that is pretty much the only thing in the entire column that is spot-on. Other than that, though, it’s pretty much all garbage.
“For dinosaurs like me,” continues Whitley, “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.
“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.”
Quarterbacks are different. The position is ever-changing with players like Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III — and to a somewhat lesser extent, Aaron Rodgers — ushering in a new era of signal-callers who can hurt you with not only their arm, but their feet as well.
But, according to Whitley, these players are threatening the moral fiber of the position or something. In fairness, head-scratching article never actually comes out says that, but its ignorance surely hints at it.
Some have even accused Whitley of racism. Naturally, he preemptively refuted that.
“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.
“It’s not just a white thing, I hope,” he states, before getting into the story of how Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson advised Cam Newton against getting inked up when the club drafted him a few years back.
AOL even felt obliged to put a disclaimer at the bottom of the column, saying the writings did not necessarily reflect the company’s opinion.
The best part of the story, however, is that Kaepernick is by all accounts a good human being. A good person with tattoos? Imagine that.
The column, as you might expect, upset his parents, who adopted Kaepernick when he was a baby.
“It annoyed me,” his mother, Teresa, told USA Today. “You are categorizing this kid on something like tattoos? Really? Saying other guys are role models because they don’t have them? Really? Some of these other guys don’t have crystal clear reputations. That’s how you’re going to define this kid? It’s pretty irritating, but it is what it is.”
And oh, yeah — Kaepernick was a 4.0 student in high school, according to his parents. And you know those heinous tats that cover his body? Those are bible verses.
Update: Whitley has responded to all of the criticism he has received.
In an email to The Sherman Report, Whitley tried to clear up what his main point was, while also pretty defiantly refuting any thoughts that he may be racist.
“It didn’t occur to me that admitting I’m not a fan of body art would be admitting I don’t like African-Americans,” he told the website. “I’m pretty sure the middle-aged women at the gym with barbed-wire tats that I referenced are white. So is Jeremy Shockey. If they were old enough to read, my two adopted African-American daughters would certainly be disappointed to find out I’m a racist.”
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