Forty-Niners fans, you’re probably not going to like this. But hear me out.
It is time to lay off Jed York.
Right. I know. Flogging the 49ers owner has become a Bay Area ritual. He’s ruined the team, wrecked the fan base and he’s losing his hair.
But you have to admit it sounded pretty sweet last week to hear the words “blockbuster trade” and “the 49ers” in the same sentence. Acquiring QB Jimmy Garoppolo in this meltdown season is a minor miracle.
(Now, for God’s sake, do something with that tissue-paper offensive line so he isn’t besieged and damaged. Two words: Andrew Luck.)
Has York done a good job? God no. He dumped Super Bowl coach Jim Harbaugh because hyper-Jimmy drove everybody nuts. There’s a long line of folks Harbaugh has sent around the bend, but he was winning.
Hiring poor Jim Tomsula — whose eyes screamed “Help Me!” at every press conference — was a disaster. His 5-11 record would look pretty good right now, but still … disaster.
York stuck way too long with cyborg general manager Trent Baalke, whose talent evaluations put the team in this hole. Bad case of misplaced loyalty by York.
Has he paid for those sins? Oh yeah. When you get airplanes flying banners over your stadium demanding your departure, you’ve officially hacked off the ticket base.
But say this — York is trying. He’s still paying off the contracts of some of those guys. Were any of us excited about Year Two of the Chip Kelly experience? I don’t think so. Still, York could have muddled along with him.
Instead, he cut the cord and came up with the happiness boys — general manager John Lynch and play-caller Kyle Shanahan. Say what you will, York is making the effort.
You know who isn’t making an effort? The Oakland A’s. Their — oh, what the hell — ownership of Lou Wolff (who just cashed out) and John Fisher has milked this money cow for years. Good players? Sure, we have some; what are you offering?
As a Sports Illustrated story notes, since the A’s last made the playoffs in 2014, the team has shipped out: Jeff Samardzija, Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Scott Kazmir, Ben Zobrist, Drew Pomeranz, Brett Lawrie, Rich Hill, Josh Reddick, Sean Doolittle and Sonny Gray.
That’s bad ownership.
Let’s talk social consciousness. When Colin Kaepernick knelt for the national anthem, York supported him without hesitation. He even matched a $1 million Kaepernick donation to a charity.
And he’s still on the right side of this.
“The most important partner that we have is our players,” York said. “The more you sit down with our players, to hear what they’re about and what they are fighting for, it’s really, really hard to disagree with them.”
Compare and contrast that with Houston Texans owner Bob McNair of the “can’t have the inmates running the prison” comments.
His players nearly mutinied. That’s offensive on so many levels it is hard to pick one. But we can say this:
That’s bad ownership.
Consider the godfather of NFL owners, Dallas’ Jerry Jones. He caved in to the demands of his buddy, President Donald Trump, and demanded that his players stand for the anthem. That helped exacerbate the controversy and divide the country.