Colin Kaepernick: Columnist's Criticism of Tattoos Is Way off Base

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer INovember 30, 2012

November 25, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) against the New Orleans Saints prior to a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The 49ers defeated the Saints 31-21. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

What's that saying?

"Don't judge a book by its cover."

Apparently, AOL FanHouse's David Whitley feels differently. The columnist wrote a scathing article on Thursday about the fact that San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is riddled with tattoos.

Whitley began his article with this, via Sporting News:

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

He continued:

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.

He goes on to say that quarterbacks should be different from the rest of professional athletes and that they are "the last line of defense against the raging sea of ink."

But even Whitley made the issue a non-issue when he wrote that Kaepernick was "polite, hard working, humble." Of course, he also threw in there that the second-year quarterback had (shockingly) never gone to prison, but at that point he had probably lost a lot of readers, anyway.

It is simple-minded thinking like this that divides people. I'm not going to go as far as to call Whitley a racist, as some already have, but you wonder what he was trying to accomplish with this piece—especially considering he wrote "it’s not hard to envision (Kaepernick) leading the 49ers into the playoffs."

So, his point was Kaepernick is hard-working and humble (aka leadership traits), but he is ruining everything with his tattoos?

It sounds like a senseless rant to me, one created to stir up controversy and division (and reads, mind you). And it doesn't help Whitley's case that Kaepernick's visible tattoos are actually Bible verses.

What does it matter how many tattoos a professional athlete has? If we haven't gotten used to tattoos on athletes by now, I honestly worry about this country. A person, and a quarterback, should be defined by who they are deep down, not by some ink on their skin. People are more than their outward appearance.

Kaepernick has earned the trust of his teammates and Jim Harbaugh (who just so happens to be one of the best coaches in the league). He hasn't accomplished this by looking more menacing than Alex Smith or having tattoos. He has done this because of who he is as an individual.

It's a shame that people have to always find something negative to talk about when the positives are staring them right in the face.

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