Two weeks after JAY-Z shook up the hip-hop world with another classic album, Michael Vick proved why Hov’s album of Black empowerment is so timely and necessary. In fact, if JAY-Z had waited a few more weeks to drop the album, The Story of O.J. might have been renamed, The Story of Mike Vick.
On FS1’s Speak For Yourself, featuring All Lives Matter spokesman Jason Whitlock, Vick was asked how former San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick could enhance his chances of getting landing a roster spot in the NFL.
“First thing we gotta get Colin to do is cut his hair,” he said.
It got worse, as Vick later added, “The most important thing that he needs to do is just try to be presentable.”
Cue the Sunken Place memes. Black Twitter had a field day with Vick’s tomfoolery.
It doesn’t take a rocket science to figure out the difference between the situations of Vick and Kaepernick. Vick returned to the NFL as a convicted felon. Rehabbing his image was critical. By all accounts, Kaepernick is an upstanding citizen, has not broken any laws, has been a fairly productive player on the football field and regularly donates his time and money to charity.
Kaepernick’s “crime” was kneeling during the national anthem and daring to ask police officers in America to stop killing unarmed men and women of color.
Even though Vick seems to think that Kaepernick’s first priority should be a makeover, he still somehow claimed that the lack of interest Kaepernick has received from NFL teams has nothing to do with his silent protest last season.
“He is a great kid and the reason he’s not playing has nothing to do with the national anthem,” Vick said. “I think it’s more solely on his play.”
Kaepernick responded indirectly on Twitter and Instagram by posting a definition of the Stockholm Syndrome.
“The Stockholm Syndrome appears when an abused victim, develops a kind of respect and empathy towards their abuser…”
What Kaepernick is missing has nothing to do with Wahl’s clippers or an ability to read defenses. He’s missing a Tony Dungy.
After Vick was released from prison in 2009, Dungy, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts coach, took Vick under his wing. Though Kaepernick doesn’t necessarily need a mentor, he does need someone with Dungy’s weight and influence to go to bat for him in NFL circles.
The NFL will have at least eight minority coaches during the 2017 season: Todd Bowles (Jets), Jim Caldwell (Lions), Hue Jackson (Browns), Vance Joseph (Broncos), Marvin Lewis (Bengals), Anthony Lynn (Chargers), Ron Rivera (Panthers) and Mike Tomlin (Steelers).
As newbies, Lynn and Joseph may not have the juice to stand up for Kaepernick, but the silence from the rest of the minority coaches is deafening. Think of the impact it would have if Tomlin or Lewis stood up for Kaepernick. What would it mean of former coaches like Dungy or Lovie Smith publically advocated for a team bring Kaepernick on board.
The discussion on Kaepernick’s kneeling was quickly changed by upset fans and the mainstream media from a “protest against injustice” to “disrespecting the flag.” The last thing Kaepernick needs is for a Vick to be on television, feeding into the false narrative that Kaepernick’s NFL unemployment has to do with his hair or his perceived lack of talent.
While it’s true that Kaepernick may not possess the once-in-a-generation talent that Vick had, but Kaepernick still posted 16 TDs versus just 4 interceptions in 11 starts last season for one of the worst teams in the least-talented teams in the league.
Meanwhile most NFL coaches, have either spoken out against Kaepernick’s protest or simply stayed silent on the matter. Until someone with power and influence stands up for Kaepernick the way Dungy did for Vick, it appears that the elusive QB’s place will be at the center of the fight for civil rights instead of under center on the gridiron.
Maybe he can draft clean-cut Vick into the movement.
Tatum, Lonzo and Smith Jr. ball out during Summer League
One of the most-exciting NBA Summer League’s is recent history is finally over. St. Louis-native Jayson Tatum showed off his skills in Utah by putting up 18.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.3 steals per game for the Boston Celtics.
Lonzo Ball was named Summer League 2017 MVP after averaging 16.3 points, 9.3 assists (which led the Summer League) and 7.7 rebounds per game. He helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers squad to a championship and posted two triple-doubles along the way.
Another player that opened eyes was Dennis Smith Jr. for the Dallas Mavericks. Smith averaged 17.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.2 steals per game. The former North Carolina State PG proved to be the most-explosive player in the draft with several highlight reel dunks, including some that missed. Smith’s jump shot, handles and ability to get to the basket put him in the conversation with Tatum and Ball as prime contenders to earn Rookie of the Year.
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