|Colin Kaepernick, not good enough to wear a fro?|
By Victor J. Ward
Michael Vick was an exceptionally talented individual on the football field. As a quarterback, he ran the football too much and should have worked on his passing skills a bit more, but, from a pure talent perspective, he left one awe-struck.
(And for all those dog lovers, of whom I am one, I must mention that he also tortured and killed dogs. This post, however, is about something that he said recently, not his past sins of dog brutality.)
Vick was talking about Colin Kaepernick and the fact that although Kaepernick has NFL talent, he remains unsigned by any NFL team.
Vick said that Kaepernick's play on the field needed to improve and that Kaepernick needed to cut his hair.
The haircut comment made a lot of Black people angry. These angry Black people
accused Vick (who is Black) of selling-out; of being a company man.
At first glance, it seems like the Black folks that disagreed with Vick had a point. After all, Kaepernick didn't do anything wrong. He took a knee during the National Anthem. He spoke out against police brutality. He publicly addressed issues where he saw a problem.
In terms of his positions on these issues, I'm right there with Kaepernick. Or, better said, I at least concur in his conclusions if not the reasoning:
Why should I stand for the National Anthem?
Police officers do beat and kill too many people of color.
Nevertheless, Michael Vick was unintentionally and partially correct when he said that Kaepernick needed to get better and that he needed to cut his hair.
Vick was unintentionally correct because I don't think he realized the truth of what he was saying. In fact, once people heard his comment and started to criticize him, Vick ran from his statement faster than he ever ran on the field, and that's saying something.
Vick's complete and total abandonment from what he first said showed that he didn't have a full grasp of the wisdom he uttered.
Vick was partially correct because only one of his two remedies is needed: Kaepernick either needs to play better OR Kaepernick needs to cut his hair.
When you are exceptional at what you do, you can get away with a lot of stuff.
I used to work with a guy who was always late. He was a never serious. He disregarded his boss. He harassed women.
But, boy, could he sell. He was one of the top salespeople in the company.
He had countless talks with management, but he was never disciplined for one simple reason: He made money for the company.
Kaepernick plays football, but let's look at baseball. Barry Bonds was known to be a jerk to everyone around him. He was simply an arrogant, know-it-all, "I wish I could break his nose" kind of guy.
The San Francisco Giants put up with him because when he was playing, no one was better. No one could hit the ball as far as Bonds.
Sure, he used steroids, but the Giants didn't care. He was putting butts in seats and putting hands on wallets as people flocked to see Bonds' historical season.
Kaepernick just isn't that good.
If Kaepernick wants to be able to say whatever he wants, and to look however he wants, and to do whatever he wants, then Kaepernick is going to need to improve. He has to return to the guy who took his team to the Super Bowl.
His play has to stand taller than his afro.
But, if Kaepernick doesn't play better, and if Kaepernick still wants to play football, he is going to need to cut his hair.
Some will protest that there are current (White) quarterbacks in the league that are worse quarterbacks than Kaepernick, and that team owners have a prejudiced view of Black players who have strong opinions.
All of that is true, but so what?
The quarterbacks that are worse than Kaepernick don't bring drama to their teams. So, ownership feels okay in signing them.
Some will argue that Kaepernick didn't really bring drama. He just has a Black-Power Afro and he has refused to stand for the National Anthem.
How do those actions equal drama?
I think that is a good question, but I'm not signing checks for NFL players, so my opinion is irrelevant.
NFL owners want championships and money.
They don't want drama.
If, however, a player brings enough in way of championships and money, ownership will live with their drama.
If a player doesn't bring championships, and the player is relatively drama-free, owners can live with that as well, at least for a time.
But, if the player brings drama, or, better said: If the player brings what an owner considers drama, yet said player brings no championships, why would any owner want that? That's the worst of both worlds.
So, Colin, either get better on the field, or cut your hair.
Or leave the NFL.
Victor J. Ward first came across libertarianism by reading Murray Rothbard's Ronald Reagan: An Autopsy and Walter Block's Defending the Undefendable. He holds a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and an MBA from Santa Clara University.