Those Whom Speak the Truth Will Suffer For It.

Eric Holder,  President Obama’s first attorney general,  had only been on the job for a month when he called out the whole damn U.S. of A. for its timid reluctance to talk about race in an open and honest way.   Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards. Though race related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race.”

Conservatives already didn’t like Holder before,  but they were really pissed at him for being rude enough to remind the nation this isn’t a post-racial paradise.   When Black people tell White people things like this they are going to get crushed for doing so.    This is where Colin Kaepernick finds himself in today.

If you’re a professional athlete and you’re actively supporting Black Lives Matter, you’re putting yourself in the frying pan.   If you refuse to stand for the Star-Spangled Banner, you’re cooked.   America loved Muhammad Ali  after he got sick and no longer dangerous, but they don’t want NFL players walking in his shoes.

As a longtime San Francisco 49ers fan, my interest was rekindled when Jim Harbaugh selected  Colin Kaepernick as the quarterback to lead the 49ers back to somewhere Alex Smith never could get to:  The Super Bowl.  They came up three points short to the Baltimore Ravens, but the future looked bright for the  Niners and Kaepernick looked like the guy to return the franchise to its Montana/Young glory days.

Only four players remain from that 2012 Super Bowl runner-up and after today’s final  roster cuts today while Kaepernick is  still one of them,  it’s only as the $11 million back-up to the wretched Blaine Gabbert.

The scourging of Colin Kaepernick takes several different lines of attack.

“Kaepernick is a rich, well-paid football player who should shut up because where else is he going to enjoy this level of success.”

Because only poor people have the right to protest?

“Kaepernick is a lousy football player who should be cut, traded or ride the bench in San Francisco. Who is he to say anything?”

It’s true Kapernick is not the hot property he once was, but he is an American citizens and American citizens are not required to stand and observe the National Anthem. This right extends even to professional football players. Incredible, yes I know.

“Kaepernick isn’t Black so what does he know about how Black men experience racism?”

That one came courtesy of NBC Sports’ Rodney Harrison. Harrison, who suffered at least 10 concussions in his playing days and was suspended four games in 2007 for using Human Growth Hormone, later “apologized” for questioning Kaepernick’s racial roots because he didn’t know Kaepernick was Black.

You may not believe it, Rodney Harrison, but this IS a Black guy. (Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports)

You may not believe it, Rodney Harrison, but this IS a Black guy.
(Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports)

I can’t even.

“I acknowledge Kaepernick’s right to protest, but since America is one of the least racist countries on the planet, he’s protesting about the wrong thing.”

Here’s the thing:  if you only agree someone has the right to protest when you agree with what they’re protesting about, you don’t really believe in the right.

Kaepernick is not the next MLK. He’s not the next Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Muhammad Ali or any other Black athlete who has stood up (or sat down) to protest the racial inequities of America. He’s the first Colin Kaepernick and he’s following the light all those before him cast upon the darkness of American racism.

Some guys don’t get it. Like Rodney Harrison. Some guys do like Bart Scott.

“I think the death of Muhammad Ali has stirred the pot. It has moved the needle to where athletes are becoming socially conscious. They’re not concerned about the bottom line. They’re not concerned with their dollars. They understand that they have a voice and [they’re] almost ashamed of how they used their voice in the last 20 years since Jim Brown, Lew Alcindor, Muhammad Ali stepped up for social change. Now, guys are ashamed and I think they’re going to try to do something about it.

“We just honored the same man that we persecuted back in the day. It’s always the right time to fight for justice, fight for what you believe in. It’s never a convenient time to talk about what you believe in. You’re supposed to wait til tomorrow? Until he’s not a player? Who’s going to listen? If he had tweeted, who would have cared?”

The way this supposedly washed-up, scrub QB is being vilified, scorned, mocked, and damned, you would think he came out of the huddle, ripped off his jersey revealing a “Black Lives Matter” T-shirt, and then pulled out an American flag and set it on fire on the 50-yard line. All he did was remaining seated on the bench instead of standing for an anthem that has lost its meaning for him.

Maybe Kaepernick eventually goes and maybe he stays.  Either way, the 49ers are going to suck.  This is a rotten team. and the bookmakers give them the least chance to make it to the Super Bowl.   I knew this before this drama jumped off so where Kap stands on the national anthem, Black Lives Matter or being able to check down to a receiver probably isn’t going to make much difference to the overall product on the field.

American history is soaked in the blood of Black people. It is the nation’s Original Sin and it didn’t end as much as it evolved. If it hasn’t why are we still having this discussion. Racism is a cancer, not a bruise. It goes dormant and then it blazes back to ferocious life.

White Americans have a remarkable talent to ignore the past, sugarcoat the future and hope the future never comes. This works for them until every so often someone like Colin Kaepernick comes along to remind them, that’s the America they created for themselves. It’s not the one Black Americans live in.

Thanks,  Colin for reminding the rest of America, but its gonna cost you.

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The Colin Kaepernick/49ers Soap Opera Will Never End.

Colin Kapernick left not just his heart but his game in San Francisco (Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)

Colin Kapernick left not just his heart but his game in San Francisco
(Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)

Stepping back on the sports beat for an  update of the San Francisco soap opera  of  “Will Colin Kaepernick Finally Find Happiness Somewhere in the NFL?”   After playing “should-he-stay-or-should-he-go” for most of the off-season,  the Niners neither cut nor traded Kaepernick and guaranteed his $11 million salary.   A few days later trade talks heated up again with the Denver Broncos.   The hold-up this time is the Broncos only want to pay $7 million of Kap’s salary  and want the Niners to pick up the rest.   The Niners don’t see why they should have to pay a player who wants to leave.

I don’t either, but I really don’t care anymore.  The Niners are going to stink either way, so whether Kap stays or goes, it’s not going to make a bad team good and the 49ers are very bad.   They’ve gone from a huge success under Jim Harbaugh to a NFL dead zone under GM Trent Balike and owner John-Boy York.

After last season’s 17-week shitshow, for the first time in eight years of blogging I said nothing about the 2015 edition of San Francisco 49ers, the NFL’s long-running soap opera. This off-season is no exception. There’s an excellent chance by this time tomorrow,  Kaepernick will be on his way out of the city by the bay to become Payton Manning’s replacement as the quarterback of the Broncos.

Whoopie-damn-do. Stay or go.  Does it even matter? The Niners would probably be better with Kap than without it, but nobody wants to keep an unhappy employee around and especially one who’s been angling for a ticket out-of-town for months now.

Even if he stays, there’s a good chance Kap could still be moved if the 49ers draft a qb in next month’s NFL draft.  Because he’s maintained a stony silence, nobody knows for certain what he wants to do. Personally, I believe there were two teams he was best suited for: the Browns with Hue Jackson and the Eagles, before Chip Kelly was fired and became the Niners coach.

Will be your quarterback for $11 million.

The 49ers set the price high on Kap based on his past performance, not how awful he’s been for the past two seasons. Nobody was going to give up a 2nd round pick for him, but the Broncos offering a 4th round pick they didn’t even have was a joke and then a 5th was a bad joke.

The Browns made a better offer, but they wanted Kap to take a big pay cut and he balked at that. There’s no upside going from one bad team to another bad team. The Browns are probably better off with RGIII. He’s another QB whose career was once brimming with potential, but he got injured and went to war with his coach and teammates and lost badly. How many fallen stars does any team really need on the roster? At least Griffin’s not coming off a lousy season and still recovering from surgery.

Kaepernick and his agents gambled their was a hot market out there for his services and could bluff the 49ers into dealing him away. Problem was the team had no incentive to give him away for nothing. The Niners started asking for a high price for damaged goods, negotiated it down to a lower price and walked away from the Browns and Broncos when they couldn’t get the deal they wanted. Donald Trump would approve. Stuck with nowhere to go, Kaepernick’s refusal to take less than the $11 million he had guaranteed was the only smart decision he’s made.

These days $11 million is a lot for a backup, not for a starter. Even now, I’m sure Kap can beat out Blaine Gabbert. Not that the team is any better since they did nothing in free agency. This is a last place team and will continue to be for some time.

It would be nice if Kaepernick realized the best place to revitalize his career is right where he’s at. It would be nice if Chip Kelly could take that rocket arm, that mobility, that athleticism and add some touch, some ability to read defenses, check down to available receivers and the other things Kaepernick should be proficient at by now.

He isn’t and I wonder if he ever will be.    If Kaepernick doesn’t want to try to resuscitate his career with the 49ers, it’s probably going to have to be in Denver or nowhere.   There’s just not a lot of other teams beating down the doors to trade for a guy who looks like he’s been badly rattled and lost all his confidence.

Hang 'em up and move on, Kap. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Hang ’em up and move on, Kap. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

 

Good Goes Bad, Bad Gets Worse.

"Oakland?  I gotta move to OAKLAND?"  (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

“Oakland? I gotta move to OAKLAND?” (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Tomorrow is the last day of the 2014 NFL season. An elite few will be still be ballin’ hard as they try to make the playoffs. Everybody else is just getting this last meaningless game the hell out of the way, try not to get hurt (though some guys may try to hurt somebody else if only to take out their frustrations) and then clean out their lockers.

“What will happen, will happen,” Harbaugh told reporters when asked about his future coaching plans, “What will not happen, won’t happen.”

What will not happen is another season with James Harbaugh freaking out on the sidelines as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

Four years ago, Harbaugh was The Man, the chosen One who would lead the 49ers out of the poverty of the Dennis Erickson/Mike Nolan/Mike Singletary years back to the Bill Walsh Super Bowl riches.  Didn’t turn out that way.   The history of how the good times turned bad have been detailed by reporter Tim Kawakami but suffice it to say, it’s not really a shock the 49ers and Harbaugh are about to break up badly.

To be a 49ers fan is to be shooting for the future while simultaneously shackled to the past. It’s not Jim Harbaugh’s fault he isn’t Bill Walsh (or even George Seifert). It’s not Colin Kapernick’s fault he isn’t Joe Montana or Steve Young (but he’s not Jeff Garcia or Alex Smith either).

When Harbaugh packs his bags to return to Michigan and a reported $8 million yearly check, he will be the highest paid coach in college football. This would be a nice pay raise from the $5 million the 49ers are paying him and would bump Harbaugh into the Sean Payton/Pete Carroll/Bill Belichick neighborhood without actually winning a Super Bowl like those guys. To put this in perspective the 32nd lowest paid NFL coach was the already whacked Dennis Allen of the Raiders.   Even a nobody like this was pulling down $3 million, so never feel sorry for a fired NFL coach. They’re all overpaid.

“Aw man! The singer forgot the lyrics of the National Anthem!”

 

 

In his wake the 49ers will either promote one of their defensive coaches, Jim Tomsula or Vic Fangio. If they decide to start fresh, look for the team to seek out an offensive coordinators such as Denver’s Adam Gase or New England’s Josh McDaniels in hopes someone can resurrect the 49ers DOA offense and if he isn’t traded, Kapernick’s career.

There are many reasons for Harbaugh and 49ers front office to part ways. A below .500 season after coming one completed pass from a second Super Bowl berth is an excellent one. Of all the disappointing underachievers in the NFL, nobody is as disappointing and underachieved more than the 2014 49ers.

Despite getting the Niners to the NFC Championship game three consecutive years, they only won it once and went on to lose a heartbreaker against brother John Harbaugh’s Baltimore Ravens. Winners know how to close and Harbaugh never could. He repeatedly came up short in the biggest games. Coupled with an inability to win the arms race with arch-rival Seattle Seahawks, despite the impressive win-loss record, Harbaugh leaves San Francisco better than he found it, but still frustratingly distant from the Gold Standard days of Walsh and Montana.

If owner Jed York and general managerTrent Baalkie wanted to make the fans happen they would order Harbaugh to fire offensive coordinator Greg Roman, make him play out the last year of his contract and put down in writing a promise to make Harbaugh the highest paid coach in the NFL if he could (a) beat the Seahawks and (b) get to and win another NFC championship.

Hello, I must be going.

What Harbaugh wants as much as money is control. He wants to pick his own players, draft his own rookies, sign his own free agents. He wants to pick his own G.M. who will do all those things the way he’s instructed to do them and hammer out the messy and boring contract details. What Harbaugh wants most the 49ers won’t give him which leaves teams like the Raiders and Jets that might happily go along with Coach Khakis can do the kind of renovation job he did with the Niners with these two perennial bottom-feeders.

The failure of the Niners was a team effort.   All-time rushing leader Frank Gore is a free agent who wants to stay put, but at 32 year old and a $6 million salary, he’s not coming back at that price. Anquan Bolden is 34 and Kapernick’s most reliable receiver and that’s a worrisome combination. Ray McDonald has already been whacked for his off the field problem and Aldon Smith is probably right behind him. Justin Smith is thinking retirement, Vernon Davis has vanished from the gameplan and former first rounder Michael Crabtree is too slow to stretch defenses and too unreliable to be a go-to receiver.

An offensive line full of highly-paid first rounders has become a sieve as Kapernick is the most sacked QB in the league.   Stud linebacker Navorro Bowman was injured in the NFC Championship loss to the Seahawks and never made it back to the field.   The talented troublemaker, Aldon Smith served an eight gamesuspension which sapped the defense’s pass rush capabilities and he may not be back.   Last year the Niners ended the season with one player on injured reserve.   This season the number jumped to 16.    “Next Man Up” is the ruling philosophy in the NFL and the 49ers are about to apply it to a winning, but difficult head coach.

“He’s my best coach. I didn’t enjoy here until we started winning. Since he’s been here, I’ve been winning.” That what Gore said about Harbaugh.  Crabtree added, “He’s one of my favorite coaches I’ve ever played for… He’s a player’s coach. He’s just a good dude. Everyone has their own opinion, but he’s been a good dude to me. And this team.”

Yet Harbaugh came up short on discipline as time and again a Niners player would show up on a police blotter.  Instead of cutting the bad actors loose, Harbaugh and Baaike would make excuses and extend second, third and fourth chances.  There isn’t space to list all the Niners who posed for mug shots during Harbaugh’s tenure,  but the handling of defensive end Ray McDonald is a signature moment of this whole shitty season.  McDonald was investigated by the police for striking his pregnant girlfriend but not charged.  Instead of suspending him the 49ers allowed McDonald to keep playing.   After sliding by for beating up a pregnant woman, McDonald rewarded the team’s trust by his name popping up in a sexual assault.  That was a bridge too far even for the lenient and lax 49ers brain trust and they cut McDonald the same day.

The blame for the team’s flame-out will fall primarily on Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman and both will be gone next season and veterans Gore, Crabtree, Mike Iupati, Justin Smith, Ahmad Brooks, Aldon Smith and Vernon Davis all possibly decamping as free agents, salary cuts or retirement.   This will be a drastically changed 49ers team in 2015 and no matter who takes over its hard to see similar success forthcoming.

“Who’s Got It Better Than Us?” was the war cry Harbaugh rallied his players with when the Niners were one of the league’s best teams.   Now they’re not.   The answer to the question has become,  “Lots of other teams not named the San Francisco 49ers.”

Don’t worry for Jim Harbaugh.   He’ll do just fine wherever he lands.   It’s less certain the 49ers will do likewise.

 

Those khakis will be worn somewhere else next season.

 

A Gold Rush in the Big Easy

The Quest is nearly over.

When you’ve waited nearly two decades between Super Bowl appearances, my first instinct is just to be happy the San Francisco 49ers have the opportunity to play for the championship of professional football.

After happiness passes, what’s left is nervousness.   Fans get too worked up and involved in the fortunes of their favorite sports franchise.  It leads to alcoholism, needless anxiety, panic attacks and early baldness.

I think the 49ers will win, but I can’t say complete certainty.   That’s what an 18-year absence from the Super Bowl does for your confidence.  It makes you run scared.

Everybody’s got a guess.  The experts can go down a list of every player on both the 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens and tell you with total confidence this will be the contributing factor that tilts victory to one side or the other.  They’ve crunched the numbers.  They’ve watched the tape.  They’ve consulted with the wisest of wise men.

But all they’re doing is giving their best guess.   They know all the reasons why the Niners or the Ravens will win.   What they don’t know is who will.

My nature is to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.    The Niners have a great defense, playmakers on both sides of the ball and in Jim Harbaugh and Colin Kaepernick I trust.   But everything the 49ers have, the Ravens have too including a Harbaugh of their own.   It’s hard to have any swagger when each team has it own share of Unmovable Objects and Irresistible Forces.

Make way for a new Lord of the Rings?

There have been some signs of the Niners not handling the media attention well.   Reserve cornerback Chris Culliver’s anti-gay remarks made him look dumb and revealed how poorly the 49ers front office prepped the players to deal with the extra attention.   The former Howard Stern sidekick Artie Lange is no journalist and he baited Culliver with a leading question, but Culliver put his own feet in his mouth and swallowed.

There’s no undue pressure on either team.  This is the the second  Super Bowl appearance for the Ravens and the sixth for the Niners, but that doesn’t mean there’s no expectations for the 49ers.   They’re challenging the Pittsburgh Steelers for a sixth ring, but unlike the Steelers, the Niners have a perfect record:  They’ve won every Super Bowl they’ve been.

That’s where the heavy hand of history falls squarely on the shoulders of the 49ers.

In the big picture of the carnival that is Super Bowl week, the Culliver controversy isn’t all that big of a deal.  He isn’t going to be star of the game.   More likely it will be someone named Lewis, Willis, Flacco, Rice, Crabtree or Gore (and if you don’t know who those guys are, you’re better off watching The Puppy Bowl or the Lingerie Bowl).

I will tune in at 6:30 ready for three or four hours of hype, commercials, celebrities, and oh yeah, a football game.  I expect big hits, edge of the seat excitement, good company and hopefully—HOPEFULLY, a sixth ring for San Francisco.

And I’ll hope most of all it doesn’t come down to a last second field goal from David Akers because the only thing I’ve been able to depend on Akers’ kicking is that I can’t depend on it.

Since Super Bowl 47 is taking place in New Orleans:  Laissez les bons temps rouler, Geaux Niners.

Got the Hope, Looking For the Glory

Tebowing is so 2012. “Kaepernicking” is the rage.

The NFL’s  32 teams open their training camps in the heat of summer and finish the endurance test that is the regular season in the cold of winter with one team being declared the best as it hoists the Lombardi trophy for winning the Super Bowl.

All any faithful follower of a football franchise can ask for is if their team makes it to the league’s version of the Final Four.   Only one team can be declared the best of the best, but it’s a successful season if your team is involved in the conversation.

My team is, and no matter the outcome when the San Francisco 49ers meet the Atlanta Falcons for the right to challenge the Patriots or the Ravens for the ultimate in bragging rights, it has been a very successful season for the Niners.

For the 49ers to come this close to breaking the 18-year drought of Super Bowl appearances leaves me with both anticipation and dread.   Anticipation that the Niners will beat the Falcons and advance.   Dread that they will lose and fall short (again).    It’s cool to get to the NFC championship round, but it’s better to actually win it.

I always run scared when it comes to predicting how the 49ers will fare in a meaningful game, but between Jim Harbaugh’s coaching prowess, their nasty smash-you-in-your-mouth-and-step-on-your-throat defense, and now the wild card of Colin Kapernick at quarterback, I feel confident the Niners will show up and acquit themselves admirably.

Or I could say I really believe the Niners are going to put their foot up the ass of the Falcons, but playing on the road in a dome against a team looking for the respect they feel nobody’s given them all season is a recipe for possible disaster, so I’m not going to say anything like that.  But you can’t kill me for thinking it.

Win or lose (please win),  unless he plays like shit, Kaepernick will solidify his hold on the starting QB job as he provides a degree of leadership meshed with talent not seen in the Bay Area since (dare I say it?) the glory days of Joe Montana and Steve Young.

Down.  Out.  Finished.  Bye-bye.

Down. Out. Finished. Bye-bye.

Is that being a wee bit premature?   Not really, because after last week’s ridiculous  offensive explosion against the Green Bay Packers  where he accounted for 444 yards of offensive and four touchdowns (five, if  you count the interception he threw early in the game), the word is out.   This kid is not a fluke and not a one-trick pony.   Colin Kaepernick is good.  He is Real Good.  C.K. is money.   Runs like a gazelle.  Flings the ball around like it’s rocket-propelled.  Can make a mistake and not let it screw up his entire day.   These are qualities one rarely sees in a single player and Kaepernick (so far) has demonstrated all of them.

A little hyperbole isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Young was forced into early retirement by a concussion from a vicious hit by Arizona Cardinals cornerback Aeneas Williams (I was never mad at Williams for his hard, but legal hit on Young.  I’m not quite so ready to forgive Lawrence Phillips, the woman-beating, law-breaking asshole who missed the block on Williams).  What came next was nearly 20 seasons of has beens, warm bodies, and busted picks such as Jeff Garcia, Steve Stenstrom, Tim Rattay, Ken Dorsey, Cody Pickett,  Trent Dilfer, Shaun Hill, Chris Weinke, J. T. Sullivan, Troy Smith and finally Alex Smith, the overall Number One draft pick the Niners chose instead of Aaron “Discount Double Reality Check” Rodgers.

So you can understand if Niner fans go into tomorrow’s game with a hope in one hand and apprehension in the other.   We’ve been here before and last January it was the Giants and Kyle Williams’ bad luck that ended a great season one game too soon.

Fans tend to exaggerate their importance in how their team does in a big game.  We have no importance,   but all the same I’ll gear up, ready proper and necessary amounts of food to nourish and drink to steady myself during the particularly tense moments when fortune favors the other team as I yell like hell when something good happens and sit there sullenly as something bad follows.

Against the Saints last year,  Alex Smith played about as good as any elite QB in the league.   He shook the title of “game manager.”   He won’t be back with the 49ers next season, but he’ll be playing and starting for someone else.  With Smith you had a quarterback who made good and solid plays if not quite exceptional.   With Kapernick, how high his ceiling is remains to be seen.   He seems to be on the cusp of greatness, but he has to win two more games to achieve it.

The hope is there.   Whether the glory is as well remains to be seen.

A young man in a hurry to be great.

 

Black QB Sports Tats. White Hack Attacks.

kapernick-tats

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.

Excerpts:

“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.”

Whitley continues:

“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:

It’s not just a white thing, I hope. When the Panthers interviewed Cam Newton, owner Jerry Richardson popped the question.

This is David Whitley.  He doesn't like quarterbacks with tats.

This is David Whitley. He doesn’t like quarterbacks with tats.

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 David Whitley's boss.  What's HIS problem?

This is David Whitley’s boss. What’s HIS problem?

“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.

Real quarterbacks don't have tats.  Says who?

Real quarterbacks don’t have tats. Says who?

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