Michael Vick to Colin Kaepernick: Cut your afro
"Listen, I'm not up here to try to be politically correct… The most important thing that he needs to do is just try to be presentable."
Former Eagles quarterback Michael Vick had some surprising advice for Colin Kaepernick: Get a haircut.
Appearing on Fox Sports 1's Speak For Yourself, Vick told host Jason Whitlock and guest host (and new Fox Sports hire) Mark Schlereth that he didn't listen to suggestions to change his own image until very late in his career, when he attempted a comeback after spending 18 months in prison for financing and running a dogfighting ring.
"Listen, I'm not up here to try to be politically correct. Even if he puts cornrows in there. I don't think he should represent himself in that way in terms of just the hairstyle," Vick said. "Just go clean-cut. You know, why not? You're already dealing with a lot of controversy surrounding this issue. The most important thing that he needs to do is just try to be presentable."
After opting out of his contract with the 49ers, Kaepernick has yet to land with any NFL team. Aside from a single meeting with the Seahawks, the young quarterback has drawn very little interest from general managers around the league. Many analysts say Kaepernick's continued unemployment is largely due to his decision to kneel in protest during the national anthem before games last season.
Back in March, ESPN's statistical analysis website FiveThirtyEight looked at Kaepernick's numbers, and came to the conclusion his numbers, playoff experience, and potential upside (he's only 29 years old) should have earned him a spot on someone's roster, especially as a backup.
"Kaepernick's current employment status looks less like a natural result of the supposed NFL meritocracy and more like something unusual is going on (even by the standards of an unusually complex situation)," Kyle Wagner and Neil Paine outlined. "His play is good enough to have attracted interest from teams by now. That it hasn't suggests that he's being punished on at least some level for his political outspokenness."
Vick doesn't buy that. Despite the suggestion to clean up his images, the retired quarterback thinks Kaepernick simply didn't impress anyone with his play over the past two seasons.
"When you're good, and you're playing great, then you're going to be wanted. People are going to want to sign you, going to want to see you play," Vick said. "It has nothing to do with him being blackballed."
Vick said it's also possible coaching issues might have affected Kaepernick's play, but didn't name fired 49ers coach Chip Kelly (who also coached Vick in Philadelphia for one season) by name. Regardless, Vick said Kaepernick might simply lack what teams are currently looking for in the quarterback position.
"We don't know his commitment, his dedication to the game right now. Unless you talk to Colin personally, you probably won't know. I still think his heart is in football. He's fairly young," Vick said. "He still has football left in him, but it's still predicated on what teams want in the quarterback position."