Dear David Whitley,
Maybe it was unintentionally or maybe it was not. I guess we truly will not know for sure. But, the comparisons and similes used to profile Kaepernick in your article for the Sporting News on Wednesday were reckless and saturated in racism.
As a result of tattoos, you compared Kaepernick to a prisoner in California state prisons:
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.
At year’s end in 2005, three out of every four inmates in a California state prison were nonwhite. I know that as a fact. But, I am sure you have watched enough “Lockup” to also be familiar with that statistic.
“I’m also pretty sure less than 1.3 percent of NFL quarterbacks have tattoos. There’s a reason for that,” you followed-up by saying, ignoring other positions on an NFL team.
The motive of your article has began to shine through, Mr. Whitley: protect the one white position still left in professional sports.
“I’m cool with LeBron James looking like an Etch A Sketch,” you added.
The acceptance of the greatest basketball player on the planet, the MVP, having the tattoos of an “Etch A Sketch” compared to your disgust towards an NFL quarterback with two starts under his belt having an equal amount of ink, using their position of influence as the primary argument, is questionable to say the least.
LeBron James and his sport are the idolization of African-American youth across the country. His life story, the rags to riches, the ghetto to center court, are the dreams of those same African-American kids.
Kaepernick was an adopted child of a white family. He grew-up in Turlock, California, a county housing a 1.5% African-American population in 2010. The median family income is more than $44,000 a year. Far from the ghetto.
I realize not all NFL quarterbacks are pristine. Ben Roethlisberger has a “COURAGE” tattoo on the right side of his upper body. … [It] can’t be seen when [Roethlisberger puts] on [his uniform].
Roethlisberger’s tattoo, to you, follows the old adage: “out of sight out of mind.” It can not be seen when he puts on his pads and walks to work.
Equally as disturbing is the assertion that only the word “courage” printed in ink on Reothlisberger’s body prevents him from being pristine.
There is no pad, brace or bandage that can keep a violent, heinous crime such as rape out of minds. I would not want my CEO to head to work with a rape accusation in his brief case; but some tattoos under those long suit sleeves would not be a problem.
It can’t be seen when he puts on his uniform, right?
The transition from Roethlisberger as the ideal CEO-type to the next paragraph further demonstrates the avocation for Caucasians as quarterbacks:
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.
Vick and Pryor are both black. Vick served the stretch in Leavenworth for dog fighting and Pryor paid for his tattoos with merchandise that, under NCAA rule, he was not allowed to sell.
Pryor breaking an NCAA rule, not a law, was of enough merit to mention; however, a strong rape accusation against Roethlisberger was not?
You say, “That’s what makes Kaepernick a threat to the stereotype.”
The only stereotype that Kaepernick is threatening is the perceived skin color of successful quarterbacks.
You fret at the thought of Kaepernick’s tattooed arms one day raising a Lombardi Trophy as the face of the 49ers, but the thought of a inked-up Calvin or Andre Johnson raising the same trophy as faces of their respective franchises does not seem to be worthy of a bead of sweat.
Did you grab your chest when Ray Lewis hoisted his Lombardi Trophy — the Ray Lewis who was an accused accessory to murder and also has tattooed arms? Was it because a guy named Mike Singletary shattered the color expectation long before him?
Maybe you do not think your article is racist, Mr. Whitley; maybe you did not write it with the intention of suppressing minorities. Maybe you just wrote what you felt.
And maybe that’s the problem.
All of America