Colin Kaepernick didn't specifically reference Michael Vick in the post on Instagram, but it's not a stretch to believe it's in response to Vick's comments the previous day.
Robert Hanshiro-USA TODAY Sports
On Monday, Michael Vick had some career advice for the still unemployed Colin Kaepernick: get a haircut. Kaepernick has alternated between having a large, bushy afro and corn rows since last season, and Vick—perhaps unsurprisingly, appearing on a Jason Whitlock co-hosted show—said he should go for a more "clean-cut" hairstyle to help rebuild his image.
"I just think perception and image is everything. This is not the Colin Kaepernick that we've known since he entered the National Football League. I'm just going off my personal experiences. Listen, I love the guy to death. But I want him to also succeed on and off the field. This has to be a start for him," he said.
Vick, of course, is no stranger to the rehabilitation game. He was once one of the most hated men in all of sports after he was arrested and convicted of running a dogfighting ring in which he presided over the systematic torture and killing of dogs. In 2007, Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison, serving most of that time in Leavenworth, Kansas. He was released in 2009, and after doing and saying all the right things—and getting a chance from the Philadelphia Eagles that summer—he was able to somewhat turn public perception in his favor. Some would never forgive him, but he had at least made an attempt to rehabilitate his image.
So it might make some sense to take advice from a guy who was put through the public wringer only to come back when all seemed lost—except for one major difference. Colin Kaepernick is not a criminal. Colin Kaepernick has not done anything wrong. He has not taken a life, canine or otherwise. He has—very quietly and very peacefully—protested what he believes is the systemic over-militarization of police forces that have an ingrained culture of racism and take black lives without consequence. For this, he's became a pariah and professional liability. And for this, he is probably a little bit chapped with Vick suggesting he has to prostrate himself before the NFL and the public at large.
Kaepernick did not mention anyone in the post, but Vick's comments came during a televised appearance yesterday, and now today Kaepernick posted the full definition of "Stockholm Syndrome"—a condition when people begin to psychologically align themselves with their captors and tormentors in order to cope with being held hostage. The timing suggests that Kaepernick is implying that Vick has been conditioned to see the media, the public and the NFL powers that be—which all conspired against him at one point—as friendly. In other words, it's a bond that is not actually there, but one Vick would have to pretend exists in order to survive the NFL media machine.
So, while supposedly living in that existence (if that's what Kaepernick is implying), Vick is suggesting that a man who has literally not done one thing wrong, should get a haircut to rehabilitate his image. If that sounds crazy to you, Kaepernick agrees.