Anti-tattoo bias has been around for a long time (I should know) and will continue persist for a long time to come. While having differing opinions on tattoos is normal and understandable, a dislike of tattoos can still reveal some blatant ignorance. One needs to look no further than the example of San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick has been in the news recently because his recent strong performances behind center have created a quarterback controversey with starter Alex Smith in San Francisco (although, his lackluster showing against St. Louis today may have cooled some of that controversy).
However, he has also been in the news because he does not look like your typical NFL quarterback. That is because his arms are layered with tattoos. This has stirred up some additional controversy, as you can see in this article from CNNSI.com:
There are several reasons why this story is notable:
- Tattoos are not rare in the NFL. Hundreds of NFL players have them (including kickers like Denver’s Matt Prater) and a significant portion of those don’t just have one tattoo, but have large amounts of ink work on their bodies.
- While tattoos are commonplace in the NFL, it is not commonplace to see them on a starting quarterback, especially not as much ink as Kaepernick has.
- The person who displayed their ignorance regarding Kaepernick’s tattoos was not some riled-up fan on a message board. It was written by David Whitley, a columnist with “The Sporting News”, an athletic publication with a considerable reputation and history in the industry.
The reason I bring this story up is because I think it is one thing to just express a dislike of tattoos. It is quite another to make ignorant (and some will say, racist) comments about what someone chooses to put on their body, especially when the person making them does so in a forum that calls for a great deal more professionalism than this.
Whitley’s ignorant comments reveal his profound dislike for tattoos, while also demonstrating and complete lack of understanding about Kaepernick’s tattoos. Kaepernick was a 4.0 student in college and his tattoos are a tribute to his strong faith, as they are Bible verses.
It is true that seeing someone in the position of starting quarterback with so much ink is uncommon. However, this is the way of things to come. Down the road, there will be more quarterbacks who resemble Kaepernick and will also have the same good societal credentials that Kaepernick has.
If Whitley doesn’t like tattoos, that is perfectly alright. But, making comments like this should leave him embarrassed.