Everyone’s favorite love-to-hate talking heads can thank Colin Kaepernick for giving them another reason to yell at each other.
The shouting crossed enemy lines on Wednesday when Fox Sports’ Jason Whitlock called out ESPN’s Damien Woody for taking a different side in the debate over Kaepernick’s activist intentions.
Days after retired NFL quarterback and former dog-fighting felon Michael Vick received backlash for suggesting on “Speak For Yourself” that Kaepernick should make himself presentable to potential NFL employers by cutting his hair, the broadcasters took their rivalry to Twitter.
“ESPN’s Damien Woody, while wearing a suit, tie and short haircut, called Vick’s advice ‘preposterous,’” Whitlock quipped on his show. “And then Woody and former NFL running back Thomas Jones had the nerve to come at the King over Twitter, with Jones calling me a ‘coward.’ My name was on the Twitter streets. Big mistake.
“Woody, Jones, you ain’t ready for these journalism corners. I’ve been out on these streets since 1990.”
Whitlock, a former ESPN employee who now bashes the Worldwide Leader on his new network, appeared on several shows since Vick’s appearance on Monday defending the former star’s “innocent” advice for the free-agent Kaepernick.
Woody poked fun at his adversary on Twitter for invoking Woody’s name to try and promote his argument on the show. The former Jets lineman turned NFL analyst earlier in the week disagreed with Vick’s right to instruct Kaepernick on his off-the-field image.
Woody’s response quickly devolved into a Twitter tennis match, with Whitlock insinuating Woody was defending Kaepernick to appease ESPN’s politics.
Whitlock apparently took offense to Woody’s belief that Vick — whatever his intention when commenting on Kaepernick’s hair — felt qualified to compare his comeback situation, from prison back to the NFL, to Kaepernick’s.
“Michael Vick’s my guy, but this is the most preposterous thing I’ve ever heard Vick say,” Woody said on ESPN’s “First Take” Tuesday morning. “You know, I feel like Vick feels like he’s indebted to the National Football League for the opportunity that he got. … So, to him, it’s a familiar playbook that he sees that Colin Kaepernick needs to follow in order to get another opportunity.
“But here’s the difference: Colin Kaepernick was just exercising his First Amendment right. Michael Vick committed a felony dog fighting. So the fact that he’s trying to compare, trying to make this situation seem apples to apples, to me is just preposterous.”
Kaepernick’s unemployment has dominated NFL talk circles since the season ended and, with most NFL training camps less than a week away from opening, the debate only appears to be getting stronger.