BRADENTON, Fla. — Several 49ers players came to Tim Ryan’s defense Thursday, a day after the radio analyst was suspended for Sunday’s game after referring to Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson’s “dark skin.”
Ryan personally apologized to players at the team’s nearby hotel, and while they vouched for his upstanding character, they also acknowledged his sensitive choice of words.
Cornerback Richard Sherman said Ryan made “valid” points that weren’t personally offensive to him or the locker room. Defensive end Dee Ford added that Ryan has no racial tendencies and this controversy can be blamed on how “it’s just the era we live in, it’s messed up.”
Here is more of what they and others said:
Defensive end Dee Ford
“He walked up to me and before he even said anything I told him, ‘I’ve got your back.’ I already knew the story. The words kind of got taken out of context. Of course, I think he knows now he could have used better judgment with his words. But we’ve got his back. knew what he was trying to say.
“This era we live in, it’s just what it is. But I know him personally. I speak to him a lot. He loves to watch D-line.
“There’s not one type of bone – you know what bone I’m talking about – in his body, so I’ve got his back, so put that to bed really fast.”
— 𝙲𝚊𝚖 𝙸𝚗𝚖𝚊𝚗 (@CamInman) December 5, 2019
(On if it was indeed hard to see the football)
“I wasn’t on the field. I would not refute that at all. It’s tough and it was raining and it was dark outside – not literally dark. We know what he was trying to say.
“It’s just the era we live in, it’s messed up. But internally we’ve got his back and he’ll bounce back.”
#49ers Richard Sherman said radio analyst Tim Ryan apologized to individuals at team hotel for his “dark skin” comment about Lamar Jackson, said Ryan made “valid” points but could have chosen better words pic.twitter.com/O8dWOztQiC
— 𝙲𝚊𝚖 𝙸𝚗𝚖𝚊𝚗 (@CamInman) December 5, 2019
Cornerback Richard Sherman
“I know Tim personally, and I listened to the dialogue and saw it written, and honestly I wasn’t as outraged as everybody else.
“I understand how it can be taken under a certain context and be offensive to some. But if you’re saying, ‘Hey, this is a brown ball, they’re wearing dark colors, and he has a brown arm,’ honestly sometimes we were having trouble seeing it on film. He’s making a play fake and he’s swinging his arm really fast, and you’re like, ‘Does he have the ball on that play?’ And you look up and (Mark) Ingram is running it.
“It was technically a valid point, but you can always phrase things better and not say ‘his black skin.’
“I’ve had a relationship with him since I got here and he’s never been anything but a great guy, a professional and a guy who takes his job seriously. It’s unfortunate that’s what it came to and the team did what it had to do.
“In that situation, it’s a play where he’s talking football and he could have used better verbiage. But I don’t think anybody in this locker room is taking it offensively or anything. He’s apologized, we know his character, so hopefully this can blow over and we can move past it.”
On if it was an issue hard to see the ball:
“It’s 100 percent an issue. The way he presented, that’s why it wasn’t that offensive, because what he was saying was a great point. Anytime that mesh points, in any zone-read scheme, the mesh point is always a tough point of contention. And if you add a dark jersey to it, it’s going to make it even harder.
“But obviously you can always phrase it better. It’s one of those things he could have used better words and it may have been made bigger than what it really was.”
Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh
“I’ve just always tried to judge people on how I interact with them. I love the man. He’s a very genuine human being. I know he knows he made a mistake and he’s just trying to move this on as quickly as possible.”
Linebacker Fred Warner
“I know Tim. Tim’s a great guy. I saw the comments. Obviously his words weren’t probably the best choice of words. I don’t really have much to comment about it. It is what it is.”
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