Photo: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Colin Kaepernick still doesn’t have a job in the NFL. Could that be because he’s no longer a star, only an average starting quarterback, and the league has thus deemed him more trouble than he’s worth? Or is it because he won’t cut his afro? Former NFL QB Michael Vick suggested on All Takes Matter Monday that Kaepernick’s hair is hurting his chances, claiming that while the primary reason for Kaepernick’s protracted unemployment is his play, he’d go a long way towards appeasing squeamish NFL owners if he were to make himself more “presentable.”

An excerpt:

First thing we’ve got to get Colin to do is cut his hair. Listen, I’m not up here to try to be politically correct, but even if he puts cornrows in there, I don’t think he should represent himself in that way in terms of—just the hairstyle. 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. All the social media stuff he’s doing—we get it, we understand it. It’s time for Colin to step up in a different way.

Regardless of the value of this advice—“It’s time for Colin to step up in a different way” is a great example of football platitudes filling in for any actual thought—Kaepernick has shown that he’s not going to compromise his beliefs or apologize for his outspoken political stances. Curtailing his vociferous criticism of police brutality and racial injustice has never been on the table for Kaepernick.

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This morning, Kaepernick responded with an obvious shot at Vick for toeing the NFL party line.

Vick has an actual point in how much the NFL cares about public image. He just doesn’t seem to understand or express how fucking bizarre the league’s value system is. Kaepernick’s situation is now at the point where a guy, who was essentially presented as a prison and redemption analyst on the show, is giving his takes on how a player, who hasn’t committed a crime, should cut his hair to better his chances of getting a job. This would be considered insane anywhere else.

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Update (12:40 p.m. EDT): Vick has clarified that when he said Kaepernick needed to cut his hair, he actually didn’t mean that Kaepernick needed to cut his hair.