Retired NFL quarterback Michael Vick is backing down from comments he made on Monday advising unemployed NFL QB Colin Kaepernick to cut his afro to increase his chances of getting signed by a NFL team.
Vick, who spent 21 months in prison on dog fighting charges, said in an interview with Fox Sports that he knew what it was like for a "toxic" player to find work in professional sports.
Kaepernick blackballed himself in the NFL by taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police shootings of unarmed black men last season.
The 29-year-old quarterback opted out of his contract with the 49ers in 2016, making himself a free agent in 2017.
But no NFL team will touch him after the national anthem controversy last year.
Vick, who retired from the NFL after every team passed on signing him last year, advised Kaepernick to "be presentable" by going "clean-cut".
“First thing we got to get Colin to do is cut his hair,” Vick said on “Speak for Yourself.”
Vick continued: “I’m not up here to try and be politically correct, but even if he puts cornrows in I don’t think he should represent himself in that way. Just the hairstyle. Just go clean-cut. You know, why not? You’re already dealing with a lot. All he needs to do is just try to be presentable.”
After the public backlash on social media, Vick, 37, walked back his comments with a statement on Twitter.com Tuesday.
“Colin Kaepernick’s hair has nothing to do with him not being on a NFL roster right now. Let’s be clear!” Vick wrote. “I wish only the best for Colin. I stand by what I’ve said about him being signed at some point this season to help a NFL club. I think he is a great kid who has a bright future and I’m looking forward to seeing him on the field again. Trust and believe what I said was not in malice.”
— Mike Vick (@MikeVick) July 18, 2017
Photos by Eric Espada/Getty Images