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We Dissect One Man's Misguided Opinion on Tattoos in the NCAA Tournament

Normally when we come across an article casting tattoos and the people who have them in a negative light we shrug our shoulders, sigh deeply and move on. Yet every once in a great while we stumble across an article filled to the brim with bumbling idiocy and ignorance about the industry we represent that we can’t help but respond. This op-ed by Clay Thompson of the Arizona Republic was practically begging for a retort—once it stumbled into our crosshairs we had to open fire.

Instead of attacking the article in one broad stroke we’ve decided to dissect it piece by moronic piece. From here forward all of the bold print is Thompson’s writing, the regular font is Inked.

Today's question:
Off to a bad start. Here’s a little Columnist 101 for you: when someone poses a question but doesn’t give it a source it means they are essentially talking to themselves like a crazy old man yelling at a cloud. 

We have been watching the NCAA basketball tournament and noticed many of the players have arms, etc. covered with tattoos.
Really? This is what you noticed? Not the upsets, buzzer beaters or phenomenal athletic feats? Apparently you have never watched college basketball before. Or sports. Or seen people with arms exposed.

What does it cost to cover one's arm with all those tattoos? We think it must cost a small fortune for these college players.
Yes, tattoos cost money. This is not Earth-shattering information.

I think the real question here is why athletes get so many tattoos in the first place.
Uh oh. Prepare to be overcome by a tidal wave of condescension…

I suppose the college players do to emulate the pros, but why anyone would want to get all inked up like that I don't understand.
And boom, there it is. Grammar errors aside, aren’t we beyond making the old “why would a person ruin themselves by getting tattooed” argument? If I had a nickel every time I heard this nonsense I would be writing this from the hot tub of my palatial estate on my private island whilst sipping on a 47-year-old Scotch.

But then I suppose it's none of my business. I do not, as they say, have any skin in the game.
We may have our differences with Mr. Thompson but we must tip our hats when we hear a good dad joke. Well played, sir.

It appears most tattoo artists charge by the hour. I am told you probably can get something small, a rose on your ankle for instance, for $40 or $60 or so.
Something tells me that all of these heavily inked basketball players that distracted Thompson from focusing on the actual games being played weren’t rocking a bunch of $40 rose tattoos on their ankles.

As you know, there is a web site now for pretty much anything, which is why I was able to learn from
Behold, the mystical powers of the internet!

There I learned the rate is generally between $50 and $100 an hour.
It is here that we would suggest that people actually interested in finding out how much tattoos cost talk to the artist they are hoping to get work from since pricing varies wildly throughout the industry instead of taking the word of an incredibly lazily named website.

So a big elaborate design is going to set you back some.
Just like how a blank white tee shirt is going to cost a bit less than a three-piece Armani suit.

Some artists charge by the project and not the hour. The site also listed prices at about 20 tattoo parlors around the country that seemed to range from $100 an hour to $250.
You wouldn’t pay the same amount for a painting done by Pablo Picasso and one done by Bob Picazzo, would you?

Top artists in New York City charge even more.
Something is more expensive in New York City than it is elsewhere? This is truly some hard-hitting journalism.

I think you can get a tattoo in prison for a few packs of cigarettes.
I’m sure that when he wrote this Thompson imagined himself dropping his typewriter and walking out of the room. Honestly, we’re pretty proud of him for making it through almost 250 words before insinuating that tattooed people are thugs.

Using this tired and unoriginal, not to mention offensive, cliché pretty much lets you know what Thompson’s true feelings are. This entire column is a thinly veiled shot at the tattooed community and at the inked kids—despite their size and athletic ability almost all of the players in question still can’t legally drink alcohol—playing in the NCAA Tournament.

When sportswriters have hurled this narrative out in the past—David Whitley of the Sporting News insinuated that Colin Kaepernick’s ink made him the favorite quarterback of San Quentin—they have faced a strong and immediate backlash. As well they should. Having tattoos doesn’t make a person prone to breaking the law any more so than having red hair does; the only difference is that no one would ever try and get away with saying the latter.

How college athletes afford these decorations, what with taking Mary Sue to Pop's Malt Shop after the pep rally and all their other expenses, I don't know.
Malt shops? Congratulations, Clay Thompson, you are the world’s most out of touch person. Those kids probably did what every college kid does when they want something—worked for it and saved their money until they were able to afford those tattoos. Of course, if the NCAA allowed players to be compensated for the billions of dollars that they bring in… that’s a whole different can of worms that can be discussed on a different day.

Again, it's none of my business.
You’re goddamn right it isn’t, Clay. You probably should have thought about this before penning the column and saved us all a lot of time and effort.

Ed. Note - Above photo of Branden Dawson from Michigan State.