Colin Kaepernick has, true to form, said nothing in response to the recent comments from Mike Vick regarding Vick’s belief that Kaepernick has no job in the NFL due to being blackballed but due to his football skills. (Vick separately said Kaepernick should cut his hair.) Kaepernick has recently posted a message on social media that many regard as a specific message to Vick.
The tweet has the large headline “Stockholm Syndrome” followed by this definition of it: “The Stockholm syndrome appears when an abused victim develops a kind of respect and empathy towards their abuser. It was named after a bank robbery in Stockholm when a group of bank employees were held hostage and developed a strong sense of empathy toward their captors. When this traumatic event was over, they even defended their captors by not wanting to say anything that might endanger their captors’ freedom. This usually happens because the victim sees the smallest act of decent behavior as an extracted event which makes them see their captors as essentially good. This way they leave aside all the negative behavioral distinctions of their captors and focus on the positive ones. This syndrome is also called ‘traumatic bonding’ or ‘victim brainwashing.’”
If Kaepernick posted this in reference to Vick, here’s Kaepernick’s likely point. Vick, whose debt to the NFL is significant given the decision to give him a second chance after a six-year lifestyle (not “mistake,” a lifestyle) of dogfighting and dog killing, isn’t capable of objectively assessing the situation because he feels “respect and empathy” toward the billion-dollar machine that paid him millions both before and after he squandered his career and his freedom.
In making his case regarding Kaepernick, Vick makes the same mistake that many have made by dismissing without discussion Kaepernick’s 2016 performance as subpar. But he threw 16 touchdown passes against four interceptions in 2016, generated a 59.2 completion percentage, racked up 6.8 yards per throw, added 6.8 yards per run, and churned out a passer rating of 90.7.
In his best season as a passer (2010), Vick didn’t manage a 4-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. For the rest of his career, Vick’s numbers don’t hold up in an across-the-board comparison to what Kaepernick did last year.
Chances are that Vick, who was notorious during his career for not doing his homework, didn’t know what Kaepernick actually did last year, opting instead to parrot the narrative he has seen from those in the media who has been pushing the “it’s only about football” angle.
Nothing Vick said will matter when it comes to a team giving, or not giving, Kaepernick a job. But Vick, whether he realizes it or not, has given the anti-Kaepernick crowd plenty of easy ammunition for the truth-is-an-annoyance political fight that will continue to rage regardless of whether he continues to be unemployed.