There is a great deal of buzz and most of it overwhelmingly negative to a column (and I use that in the most liberal sense of the word) written by David Whitley of the AOL Fanhouse where he rips into San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for the tattoos on his body.
“San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick is going to be a big-time NFL quarterback. That must make the guys in San Quentin happy.
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.
I’m also pretty sure less than 1.3 percent of NFL quarterbacks have tattoos. There’s a reason for that.
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.”
“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.”
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.”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.
Then, Whitley goes for the money shot:
“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.
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.
“Let’s keep it that way,” he told Newton.
In Whitley’s world, if you can’t be a White QB sans tats, the next best thing is to be a Black QB sans tats. Cam Newton: good Black quarterback. Colin Kapernick: bad Black quarterback.
I can only guess where Robert Griffith III with his dreads fall on the continuum.
A few thoughts: In the NFL the only God that is worshiped is the God of Money. A player can gun down the mother of his child, drive to the stadium, confront the coach and general manager and blow his own brains out as they watch in horror and the league will offer grief counselors for the traumatized team, but the game scheduled for Sunday goes on. Next man up.
No athlete in any sport is more disposable than a professional football player. Their contracts are not guaranteed unlike their counterparts in baseball and basketball. Blow out a knee today and you’re out on the street tomorrow. Literally.
If a football player’s body betrays him, if it breaks down, if it becomes too beat-up and battered to make a Jerry Richardson and owners like him money, he will get rid of the tattoo free Cam Newton like yesterday’s breakfast. The NFL uses up young men and discards them. Whose business is it they want a one tat or decide to turn their entire body into a canvas. Their bodies are all they own. They should be free to do with it as they will even if it pisses Jerry Richardson and David Whitley.
Colin is a young Black man who was adopted by Rick and Teresa Kaepernick and while they are proud of their son’s success as an NFL QB, they weren’t happy with Whitley comparing him to convicts, as they explained to USA Today.
“It annoyed me,” Teresa said. “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.”
“This guy has probably never talked to Colin,” Rick said. “Instead of saying that Colin does all these great things and donates his time to children, this guy is going to make him out like a gangster. Really? I guess you just have to roll with the punches.”
It’s this kind of crap vomited up by hacks like David Whitley that feeds into the stereotype of Young Black Men as Thugs/Gangsta Wannabees and it isn’t a vast leap in logic to think this stereotype is what is rattling around in the mind of a George Zimmerman when he hunts down a hoodie-wearing Trayvon Martin or a Michael Dunn when he blows away a Justin Davis who was bumping his music too loud.
Isn’t it about time someone shot Whitley, Bill O’Reilly and every other White man jonesing for the good old days with a tranquilizer dart, implanted a microchip in their asses and shipped them back to The Fifties where they and their “Traditional America” can live happily ever motherfucking after?
The overwhelmingly negative response to Whitley’s race-baiting rant should make it clear to Sporting News Editor-in-Chief Garry D. Howard that Whitley’s column was in atrociously bad taste at best and is insulting and offensive at worst.
Mr. Howard is an African-American. He might be sensitive to how poisonous it is to permit wretched stereotypes to go unchecked and unchallenged.
- David Whitley Is A For-Real Racist (kissingsuzykolber.uproxx.com)
- San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick ‘Tats’ Throw Media Into Frenzy (streetknowledge.wordpress.com)
- David Whitley Cites ‘Two Adopted African-American Daughters’ as Proof He’s Not Racist (nesn.com)