Michael Vick had quite a busy day on Monday.
First, on FS1’s The Herd with Colin Cowherd, Vick claimed that Colin Kaepernick’s play, and not his anthem protest, best explained why the former 49er doesn’t have a job right now. Then, on FS1’s Speak for Yourself, Vick opined that Kaepernick might need to “get a haircut” in order to ‘try to be presentable.”
On Tuesday, after receiving a fair amount of backlash from Kaepernick and others, Vick took to Twitter to try and clear the air. Specifically, to say that Kaepernick’s hair isn’t what’s keeping him out of a job.
“Colin Kaepernick’s hair has nothing to do with him not being on a NFL roster right now,” Vick wrote. “Let’s be clear! I wish only the best for Colin. I stand by what I’ve said about him being signed at some point this season to help a NFL club. I think he is a great kid who has a bright future and I’m looking forward to seeing him on the field again. Trust and believe what I said was not in malice.”
Not exactly a retraction, but not doubling down either. The real offense here has nothing to do with Vick’s advice to Kaepernick about his hair. The real offense is that the backlash against Vick compelled him to say anything at all.
Of all the analysts in the sports media that are criticizing Vick for saying Kaepernick should cut his Afro, none of them has an Afro. Which means that all of those analysts at some point conformed to a societal norm pertaining to presentation, professionalism, and how serious people behave.
So, why can’t Kaepernick? Why is it offensive for Vick or anyone else to suggest he should?
It also cannot be ignored that, once again, someone critical of Kaepernick has been forced to apologize or at the very least walk back their criticisms. Jim Harbaugh initially blasted Kaepernick for his protests. Since then, Harbaugh can’t seem to stop from telling everyone how talented Kaepernick is and how he should be on an NFL team.
It almost seems like the lasting legacy of Colin Kaepernick exercising his freedom of speech will be everyone else losing theirs.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn