|The ink on Kaepernick's left arm? It's a Bible verse. (US Presswire)
Earlier this week, the Sporting News' David Whitley, seemingly without provocation, went after 49ers starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick ... for having tattoos.
"San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick is going to be a big-time NFL quarterback," Whitley wrote in a story published Wednesday. "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," he continued. "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."
The internet's response -- from the comments on Whitley's original post, to Twitter, to the blogosphere -- was swift and severe.
But the biggest indictment to quite possibly one of the laziest columns you'll ever read came from USA Today's Robert Klemko, who spoke with Kaepernick's parents about Whitley's piece, which was embarrassing enough on its own.
"It annoyed me," Teresa Kaepernick, Colin's mother, told Klemko. "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."
It gets worse: Kaepernick's tattoos contain Bible verses. Seriously, we can't make this stuff up.
"Colin's a fairly religious kid, but he's not in your face about it," Kaepernick's father, Rick Kaepernick said. "It's more about him and what he believes. …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."
Also worth noting: the 49ers' previous starting quarterback, Alex Smith, white guy, also has a tattoo -- and his doesn't even relate to the Bible.
Meanwhile, Whitley somehow comes off worse when he explains to ShermanReport.com the message he was trying to convey.
"The opinion I was trying to reflect was that NFL quarterbacks have been largely tattoo free," he wrote Sherman in an email. "Having a humble, hard-working, scandal-free QB potentially would be a breakthrough. And old farts like me who don’t fancy tattoos will just have to sigh and accept it. …
“If they were old enough to read, my two adopted African-American daughters would certainly be disappointed to find out I’m a racist.”
That's sort of the point, which continues to be lost on Whitley, who has a track record of writing columns that are narrow-minded, simple, and ultimately offensive.
That said, if this writing thing doesn't work out, there's always television. Whitley's a natural in front of the camera.
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