The San Francisco 49ers suspended color commentator Tim Ryan for one game after some racially insensitive comments during their game with the Baltimore Ravens.
During the game, Ryan said that Lamar Jackson is so good at the play-action because of “his dark skin with a dark football.” The idea is that Ryan believes that the ball blends in with Jackson’s skin, making it hard for opposing players to see he is still holding it.
EXCLUSIVE: After inquiries from The Chronicle, 49ers suspend broadcaster Tim Ryan for saying Ravens QB Lamar Jackson is great at play-action fakes due to "his dark skin with a dark football"
— Demian Bulwa (@demianbulwa) December 4, 2019
“He’s really good at that fake, Lamar Jackson, but when you consider his dark skin color with a dark football with a dark uniform, you could not see that thing,” Ryan said.
The 49ers reported they were “disappointed” in the comment and suspended him for one game.
“We hold Tim to a high standard as a representative of our organization and he must be more thoughtful with his words. Tim has expressed remorse in a public statement and has also done so with us privately,” 49ers officials said. “We know Tim as a man of high integrity and are confident he will grow and learn from this experience.”
The 49ers also reached out and told the Ravens what happened.
That rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.
In the comments on the tweet about the suspension, fans spoke out harshly against the color commentator.
Many fans called for Ryan to be fired, while others simply took the time to insult the commentator. There were even more who explained that Jackson is just a great player and Allen is discounting that talent by giving a racial excuse to his success.
Others simply said that Tim Ryan made a comment that showed ignorance in the player’s skills.
With that said, Dr. Harry Edwards has spoken out about the comment, while also saying that Ryan was out of line, but that he didn’t believe he was racially maleficent.
For those who do not know, Edwards is an American sociologist and civil rights activist who has focused on the experiences of African-American athletes.
Worth posting full reaction of Dr. Harry Edwards when @LaurenPorFavor asked him about Tim Ryan's comment pic.twitter.com/syZqMEgnAg
— Demian Bulwa (@demianbulwa) December 5, 2019
Edwards said that he knows Ryan and does not consider that he has a maleficent mind to racial issues. However, at the same time, he said that does not excuse the comments. He also said that while Ryan did not mean anything hateful in the comments, he should not get a “pass” on the statements.
Instead, Edwards said that Ryan’s comments should be used as a learning moment. He suggested that Ryan should come out and offer a sincere apology for what he said and not discount one player based on skin color.
Edwards also said that he was not surprised that the NFL’s celebration of 100 years of existence had little mention of the years of bigotry that existed in the league.