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AOL / Sporting News Columnist Thinks QB’s Shouldn’t Have Tattoos

I grew up reading The Sporting News. It was one of those publications that you’d get excited when it would arrive in the mail. You’d know it was The Sporting News too, because it was on newspaper paper instead of magazine paper. I think it was The Sporting News and Sports Collectors Digest that excited me most. As you can tell, I led a pretty exciting life.

In any case, I can’t imagine back in the day The Sporting News would ever print the sort of garbage contained in “Colin Kaepernick ushers in an inked-up NFL quarterbacking era,” the AOL/Sporting News site, by a fella named David Whitley.

The title seems harmless enough, as I figured that the piece would just be about Kaepernick’s tattoos. I noticed the same thing while watching Sunday’s 49ers game. Well, it’s not harmless. Scratch that, it’s not so much harmful as it is embarrassing and stupid.

I’d like to get a few things out of the way here. First, I’ve got tattoos, quite a few of them. I understand not everyone has them, and I understand not everyone wants them. My father’s not a particularly big fan of them, and I get it. That said, you’ve probably noticed they’re sort of popular, and the notion of judging someone’s ability to professional and intelligent based on whether they have tattoos or not is not effective in determining either attribute.

Second, writing is hard. Today’s world and major media sites want you to push out content, and lots of it. They like it even more when you write something controversial. This is still no excuse for being stupid or ignorant, something it appears David Whitley is.

Enough of the introduction, let’s get down to business, shall we?

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

He starts early. I imagine those sitting in maximum security prison are concerned with things other than tattoos. I don’t think they sit around watching MTV and go wild when they see the guys in Good Charlotte. Something tells me they’re not waiting around to see Chris Carrabba and popping champagne because they’ve finally gotten a little prison into emo music. “YO BROS, LOOK, DAVID BECKHAM IS ALL INKED UP! WE GOT ANOTHER ONE!”

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.

Always great to get it out of the way that you’re not going to base your lede in any sort of fact.

I’m also pretty sure less than 1.3 percent of NFL quarterbacks have tattoos. There’s a reason for that.

Three quarterbacks per team, 32 teams. That makes 96 quarterbacks. That means his second supposition is untrue of two NFL quarterbacks have tattoos. So I’m curious what his reasoning his that proves his probably-wrong guess.

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.

Does this mean I look like I just got paroled? LOOK AT THE HORROR OF THE TATTOOS UNDER MY SHIRT!

Now along comes Kaepernick. Since taking over for Alex Smith two games ago, he has convinced everybody in the Bay area that he’s the second coming of Steve Young.

Smith is coming back from a concussion, ushering in the attendant QB controversy. But he is looking like Wally Pipp and Kaepernick is Lou Gehrig. All I can do is look in the mirror and sigh.

Wait what? Why are you looking in the mirror? Do you look like Alex Smith? I don’t get it.

Forgive me, but I suffer from tattoo-ism. I sport no ink, and I don’t want any. I know that attitude qualifies me for an AARP card, and I’ve tried to get with it.

This is where the writer feels like if he qualifies his article by saying he doesn’t like tattoos, it means whatever he says is a-ok. Can you imagine if it said, “look, I suffer from being a racist. I’m really trying but I just can’t stand black quarterbacks!” Just because you admit you’re stupid, doesn’t make you not stupid.

ALSO CHECK OUT: My buddy Tzvi Twersky’s response to the QBs and Tattoos post

Not having tattoos doesn’t mean you’re old, as the writer has already said, he doesn’t see tattoos on most quarterbacks. Most quarterbacks are not old. But when you think someone isn’t able to do a job based on their looks, it does make you sort of stupid. Maybe young, maybe old, but definitely sort of stupid.

I realize tattoos are ways to pay homage to your religion, children and motorcycle gang. I’m cool with LeBron James looking like an Etch A Sketch.

Alright?

I still cringe when I go to the gym and see middle-aged women with barbed wire circling their biceps. They have bigger arms than I, so I never make fun. But I can’t shake the notion that a person’s body is a temple, and you don’t cover temples in graffiti.

Well if your body is a temple, you should probably make sure you’re in good enough shape to have bigger arms than the middle-aged woman. The “body is a temple” stuff always falls flat when you see the temple-wisher throwing down a cheeseburger.

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.

For guys like me, QBs were white! Right buddy!

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.

“Wait, I’ve got to throw a black QB in this list so it seems like I’m not racist. I’ve got to. Quick, think of one. There’s got to be a black QB right?! DOUG WILLIAMS WAS BLACK WASN’T HE!? Let’s mention him along with Joe Montana and Tom Brady.”

I realize not all NFL quarterbacks are pristine. Ben Roethlisberger has a “COURAGE” tattoo on the right side of his upper body. Smith has one honoring his Serbian heritage. They can’t be seen when the players put on their uniforms.

Well and he’s been accused of sexual assault a couple of times but whatever.

Then there are Michael Vick and Terrelle Pryor. Neither exactly fit the CEO image, unless your CEO has done a stretch in Leavenworth or has gotten Ohio State on probation over free tattoos.

Yes, and you know, Vick and Pryor are also, well, ok.

I still think tattoo removal is going to be huge industry in the coming years. But for now, I might as well accept that Holland is probably doomed.

If you can’t draw the tattoo line at NFL quarterback, you can’t draw them anywhere.

He might be right. Tattoo removal might end up being a huge industry. Perhaps he should look into investing in it, as the “sort of racist writing industry” is drying up.

 

 

  • http://www.facebook.com/kyle.koneski Kyle Koneski

    Good post, Spike. I don’t like tattoos, I think they’re kinda dumb, but to each its own. I think people should express themselves freely, and I support people doing so by getting tattoos. I think some tattoos are cool, especially the meaningful ones that commemorate your heritage and whatnot. With that being said, this guy’s article reminds me of Bill O’Reilly’s recent rant on the Korean Song “Gangnam Style” where he says blantantly racist stuff. The guy’s article reeks of racism. This guy’s employment contract should be terminated immediately. Racial bias is bad, especially for a news site, and it shouldn’t be tolerated.

  • Stevo

    Good stuff spike. I don’t necessarily read the the racist undertones you inferred, but the dude is definitely ignorant.

  • Neal

    It sounds like you were forced to write something controversial. I think you are reading too much into what the author wrote.
    It sounds like the author wrote that having visible tattoos does not help portray a classy image. Do you disagree?

    • Spike Eskin

      *I* was forced to write something controversial?

      For my personal website without any ads in my free time?

      Is this for real?

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