According to columnist David Whitley, this is how the conversation went down when Cam Newton was interviewed by Panthers owner Jerry Richardson:
Jerry Richardson popped the question.Whitley presented this anecdote to illustrate his argument that Colin Kaepernick's tattoos are inappropriate for an NFL quarterback. Whitley, like Richardson apparently, believes that the quarterback is the "CEO of a high-profile organization, and you don’t want your CEO to look like he just got paroled." Wow, seriously?
“Do you have any tattoos?” he asked.
“No, sir,” Newton said. “I don’t have any.”
“We want to keep it that way,” Richardson said.
He was OK with body art on other players, including the human canvas that is Jeremy Shockey. But Newton would be the face, arms and legs of the franchise. The boss didn’t want them covered in ink lines.
“Let’s keep it that way,” he told Newton.
Kaepernick looks to me as though he just finished the X-Games BMX Big Air competition, complete with the over-sized baseball cap and whatever the hell the kids are calling that little tuft of a beard on his chin.
More importantly, have you looked at his tattoos? I suspect Whitley just wrote a knee-jerk reaction to something he can't understand. Here is a little bit about the tattoos:
Covering his entire back is a mural of angels fighting demons, which took over 18 hours to complete.
Across his chest is written: "Against all odds" – a message of defiance against the many scouts and coaches who once dismissed Kaepernick as too skinny to succeed in the sport. On his right arm, Psalm 18:39 conveys a similar message: "You armed me with my strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me."His right arm is also inked with, "To God the Glory," while his left bicep reads, "My Gift is My Curse." Neither of these, or any of the others, smack of prison ink. This is a man whose faith (which is also tattooed on his right bicep) is so important to him that he has key points enshrined on his body for the rest of his life.
So what if this talented kid has visible ink, and that he is one of the first high-profile quarterbacks to do so (or the first white one, since Michael Vick and Terrelle Pryor are both inked), he is also a quite and humble kid and a fun player to watch, for his ability to throw and to run.
As a side note, he may also be the first mixed race NFL quarterback, too, his birth-mother being white and his birth father black. He was adopted at 6-weeks by the Kaepernicks, and as far as he is concerned, they are his parents.
Again, who cares.