My first thought was, "who's David Whitley?"
After some research, I discovered that he is a columnist for AOL Fanhouse/Sporting News.
My second thought was, "AOL Fanhouse and Sporting News are still around?!"
Whitley wrote an article yesterday entitled Colin Kaepernick Ushers in an Inked-up NFL Quarterbacking Era. The article is essentially a 731-word rant against tattoos, using the new 49ers starting quarterback as its foil.
Twitter-verse exploded, as fans and other columnists made fun of Whitley and labeled him as lazy, ignorant, condescending, a "piece of [crap]," "not smart or well thought-out," an "a-hole" and a "for-real racist" (which should not be confused with a fake racist).
I agree with all of those - except the last. David Whitley is not racist. At least, I don't think he is. He claims he isn't, and for proof he points out that he adopted two African-American daughters.
But here's what people seem to be missing, and it goes back to my first and second thoughts when I read about Whitley's article. I love sports, and I love reading about sports, and I visit many sports websites to satisfy my sports appetite. I had never heard of David Whitley before today and I was unaware that either AOL FanHouse or Sporting News were still around, let alone the same company.
I don't know what that says about me, but I'm pretty sure I know what it says about David Whitley and AOL FanHouse/Sporting News.
So if you're David Whitley, and not many people are aware of your existence (as of earlier today he had 301 followers on twitter), and not many people realize that AOL FanHouse/Sporting News still exist, what should you do? You need to do something that will bring you
So you make up a hot-button issue. Tattoos?! On Quarterbacks!??! THE MAYANS WERE RIGHT!!!!!
This is a ridiculously stupid issue. My guess is that David Whitley doesn't care at all who has tattoos and who doesn't. He might not like them for himself, and bully for him, but for him to claim that he is bothered by the tats on Kaepernick's arms is ludicrous. I call BS.
What David Whitley does care about is that people read his columns. So he does what entertainers have been doing for years - he says something outlandish that gets people talking about him and paying attention to him. It's the Howard Stern method that has been attempted by many pundits in sports and politics. You might not believe whatever issue you bring up, but you say it with fervor and you get people talking about it, and you. The difference between Stern and Whitley is that Stern is funny and you know that many of the things he says are with tongue firmly planted in cheek.
Whitley's column about Kaepernick was douchey, no question. Comparing Kaepernick to inmates at San Quentin simply because he has tattoos? Ridiculous. Calling the quarterback the "CEO" of the organization? I think the owners would disagree.
Whitley was trying to be funny, but he came across Whitless. Or maybe I should say Bayless. Whitley even tries to use "sigh again" as its own sentence for comedic effect (the key word is "tries").
But Whitley is not the first sports commentator to write or say something crazy to get attention, and he won't be the last. It's on us to ignore it.
Which I have already failed at doing. Well, at least I don't have a tattoo, right?