As we’ve learned in recent months, pretty much everyone has an opinion on Colin Kaepernick and his employment status, and many of them are misguided, ill-informed or straight-up dog whistles.
On Monday night, former NFL quarterback Michael Vick became the latest person to weigh in, and gave a surprising reason for why Kaepernick remains unemployed while retreads like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh McCown and Geno Smith currently have jobs.
“The first thing we’ve got to get Colin to do is cut his hair,” Vick said on Fox Sports’ “Speak for Yourself.”
Yes! That’s exactly it, Mike! Why did no one think of this before?!
We’ve been told it’s that Kaepernick spends too much time doing non-football things (all of them legal, and many of them charitable). We’ve been told that it’s because he’s vegan. We’ve been told that he’s a distraction, even though his San Francisco teammates voted him Len Eshmont Award winner for most inspirational player last season, an honor San Francisco 49ers teams have been giving since 1957. We’ve been told it’s that he hasn’t had a very serious sit-down interview with Barbara Walters or Bob Costas or Anderson Cooper to tell the world that he really, truly does want to play football and prove his commitment to the game, something no player has been asked or expected to do previously.
But his hair! Yes, his hair!
“Listen, I’m not up here to try to be politically correct,” Vick added. “Even if he puts cornrows in there, I don’t think he should represent himself in that way, in terms of just the hairstyle. Just go clean-cut, you know, why not? You’re already dealing with a lot, a lot of controversy surrounding this issue, and the most important thing he needs to do is just try to be presentable.”
For the record, Kaepernick, who used to wear a close-cut Caesar but has been growing his hair out over the last couple of years, has worn his hair plaited into cornrows at times, but he’s also let his hair be free.
Reaction to Vick’s statement – especially given that it was Michael Vick making them – was swift on social media, and clearly Vick saw it.
So on Tuesday, he posted this to his Twitter account:
“Colin Kaepernick’s hair has nothing to do with him not being on a NFL roster right now. Let’s be clear!” Vick wrote in part, adding that he believes Kaepernick will get a chance to play “at some point” in the coming season.
Vick also said on Fox Sports that he doesn’t believe Kaepernick is being blackballed for his protests last season, but because his production the last two years has been substandard. Kaepernick was recovering from offseason surgeries before the 2016 season, but when he returned had a 4:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio despite having arguably the worst receiving corps in the NFL.
That also doesn’t explain how a player like Smith, whose last real chance as a starter was in 2014 when he had 13 touchdowns and 13 picks, has a job.
And Kaepernick apparently saw what Vick said. Kaepernick’s Twitter feed is almost exclusively retweets of others’ posts, but on Tuesday morning, he dropped a little shade disguised as knowledge – the definition of “Stockholm Syndrome”:
Vick may have backtracked, but his original statement was once again someone grasping at straws to try to justify why Kaepernick hasn’t been signed by a team since parting ways with the 49ers. Because if you’d be OK with your team signing, drafting or keeping a player with a domestic violence charge or DUI in his past or present but have an issue with Kaepernick sporting an Afro, it could be more of a you problem than a Kaepernick problem.