Colin Kaepernick Body Issue: Posing Should Enhance 49ers QB's Brand

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIJuly 8, 2013

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 31:   Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers addresses the media during Super Bowl XLVII Media Availability at the New Orleans Marriott on January 31, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The 49ers will take on the Baltimore Ravens on February 3, 2013 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has experienced a meteoric rise to stardom after an electric-but-brief tenure as the signal-caller for one of the NFL's most storied franchises.

Oozing with charisma, a rocket arm and fleet feet, numerous tattoos are another element that makes up Kaepernick's brand, and he'll be showcasing his ink in ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue, which will be released on July 12.

This is a golden opportunity for Kaepernick to advocate the art he's chosen to decorate his massive 6'4", 230-pound frame with and thus grow his rapidly developing profile as a genuine professional on and off the field.

Tattoos are taboo for many, and it remains to be seen how Kaepernick influences that paradigm. What's certain is that the nude posing Kaepernick does in the Body Issue will have people talking a lot.

Kaepernick's tattoos initially made national headlines in a negative way, when a Sporting News column by David Whitley heavily criticized the young star for rocking so much ink as such an influential figure.

But that's precisely why it made so much sense for ESPN The Magazine to turn to Kaepernick for the Body Issue—not only because of his magnetism as a player but also for his unabashed advocacy for tattoo art.

Recently, the news Kaepernick has been making has also drawn criticism. When he wore a Miami Dolphins hat at a Fourth of July party, it was a bit perplexing.

A photo was captured by a Dolphins fan's Twitter account, and the image itself showed a shirtless Kaepernick openly flaunting his tats:

When he makes this likely polarizing appearance in the Body Issue, any repercussions from the hat incident are sure to be brushed aside. The focus will be squarely on what Kaepernick has elected to do with his body, but the principles of what he's done should stand out upon that examination.

Kaepernick has utilized his rightful free will to express himself and decorate his body with unique art, and ESPN feels Kaepernick is an asset to a magazine issue that highlights the best bodies in sports.

A new appreciation may be gained for Kaepernick's defined, chiseled physique, but the tattoo debate will rage on. If his carefree reaction on Instagram to the hat fiasco is any indication, it won't rattle Kaepernick the least bit.

What should be emphasized is Kaepernick's unwavering and visible stance on the tattoo issue, which, by the way, has nothing to do with the type of person he is.

Those who aren't pleased with Kaepernick's personal tattoo choices had better get used to it, because it probably won't be long before he has a Lombardi Trophy in hand following the world's biggest sporting spectacle.

Praise should be heaped onto the magazine for acclimating the masses who have a disdain for tattoos and frown upon Kaepernick in numerous instances solely because of it.

More prominently, though, fans should celebrate Kaepernick. In an era where athletes often have predetermined, PR-manufactured answers to questions and portray an unauthentic public persona, Kaepernick refuses to shy away from his passion for tattoos.

Respect should build for Kaepernick in that regard at the very least. For the majority of football fans who truly appreciate the game and the unique talents the 25-year-old possesses, Kaepernick's presence in the upcoming Body Issue should only expedite that perpetually growing adulation.