The minute Colin Kaepernick took the field for Monday Night Football, putting his Dead Sea Scroll upper arms on national display, the clock started ticking. There was bound to be a stink about the ink.
Tattoos on any athlete trigger Pavlovian frothing at the mouth. They send minds stumbling into booby traps of conformity. They elicit Puritanism from the folks who bring us the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.
And here was an NFL quarterback, the center of every team's universe, his skin scripted to the hilt. Kaepernick broke new ground for body art.
The frothing started this week with a misguided column by one of the finer people in this business, David Whitley of the Sporting News. Kaepernick didn't lead him into the trap. He had lamented the epidermal graffiti of sports before. This time, he equated Kaepernick's look with prison culture, and called it particularly inappropriate for a quarterback, the CEO of any roster.