“First thing we gotta get Colin to do is cut his hair,” Vick said Monday on FS1’s “Speak For Yourself.”
Kaepernick had short, neatly cut hair when he led the 49ers to the Super Bowl following the 2012 season. But before last season, he grew it all out, often sporting a large Afro or sometimes cornrows.
Vick offered Kaeperncik a basic tip that could be helpful to anyone looking for work.
“Just go clean cut, you know? Why not?” said Vick, who sometimes wore his own hair in an Afro or cornrows in his younger days.
“The most important thing that he needs to do is just try to be presentable.”
He added: “I just think perception and image is everything, and listen, it’s not the Colin Kaepernick that we’ve known since he entered the National Football League. And I’m just going off my personal experiences, but I love the guy to death and I want him also to succeed on and off the field. And this has to be a start for him.”
Vick spent nearly two years in prison during the height of his career after being found guilty on dog-fighting charges. But he was able to resurrect his playing career after serving his sentence and thinks some of that had to do with changing the way he presented himself to others.
“I started to see what was most important and that was cleaning up, changing my image,” Vick said, “not just for public perception but for the judge and everything I was about to get involved in. It was a difficult process and it was one that I didn’t like, but it was one that I had to accept.”
In what some are interpretting as a response to Vick’s comments, Kaepernick took to Twitter and Instagram on Tuesday morning and posted the definition of Stockhom Syndrome.
Around the same time as he debuted his new look last year, Kaepernick also started refusing to stand for the national anthem before games. Some people believe he is being shut out of the league now because of that social protest.
But Vick thinks Kaepernick’s struggle to find employment has more to do with his performance on the field than anything that happened off of it. Kaepernick has gone 3-16 as a starting quarterback over the last two seasons.
“He is a great kid and the reason he's not playing has nothing to do with the national anthem,” Vick said. “I think it’s more solely on his play. But, yeah, everything takes precedent in terms of image perception. You gotta clean it up, you gotta make sure you do it all right.”
10 a.m.: This article was updated with a social media post by Colin Kaepernick.
This article was originally published at 9:35 a.m.