The San Francisco 49ers have had quite the offseason. So far, they’ve had three players arrested and two others involved in an investigation into a suspicious incident, and with each the 49ers have given the same boilerplate statement, only the name of the player being changed. Through all of this, one voice has been missing leading to the question:
Where’s Jed York?
It appears that he is doing an impression of Clark Griswold. You know the scene from “National Lampoons Vacation” where Sparky is driving late at night and falls asleep. The family station wagon going down a random off-ramp only to miraculously not hurt anyone and end up in a hotel parking lot.
That’s Jed York, or should we call him Sparky?
From 2000 to 2010, the 49ers had only nine players run into trouble with the law and get arrested. They were near the bottom of the league, and their fans crowed about the troubles of other franchises.
Unfortunately that is no longer the case. Since Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke were hired to run the football operations in 2011, the 49ers have had the fifth most players arrested out of all NFL teams with eight.
Fortunately for York, his team has won. Imagine how loud the call for change would be if it had not.
The 49ers’ bottom line it appears is winning. And doing it at all costs. The character of those on the team is not important.
Not only are all of the arrested players still a part of the organization, York has allowed Harbaugh and Baalke to go out and sign troubled players off other rosters as well.
For example, during the 2013 offseason, Baalke brought in troubled cornerback Eric Wright despite his two prior arrests. Baalke did the same thing this offseason, bringing in Chris Cook. Cook’s two arrests were part of a league-high 12 incurred by the Minnesota Vikings since 2011.
Win on Sunday. That’s all that matters.
That should have become crystal clear to everyone who watches the NFL when York allowed his football men to play Aldon Smith for the entire game against Indianapolis last season only two days after driving his vehicle into a tree while intoxicated. Smith was two times over the legal limit in California.
The 49ers should stop the charade that they are concerned about Aldon Smith. The person when in fact all they care about is Aldon Smith, the pass rusher.
Prior to each draft, while setting up their big board, the 49ers go to their list of players and issue select individuals a gold helmet. The gold helmet is meant to signify players who met certain on and off-the-field criteria. That criteria includes among other things: Do they have a passion for football? Are they clean guys off the field? Are they going to be family men first?
This sounds nice, until you go back and look at the 2011 draft class. Three of the first five players the 49ers selected that year have been arrested at least once since they were drafted, and that number goes up to four when you add in undrafted free agent Demarcus Dobbs.
How many of these guys were given gold helmets?
None of this will change until York decides to do something about it. The question is, what will have to happen before he decides to take action?
My guess is that we will continue to see the status quo until it hits the team where it matters most, the wallet.
When the sponsors, the ones helping fund the new stadium, become tired of having the negativity around their brand is when it will stop.
Until then it’s win at all costs. And that’s unfortunate.
- The 49ers signed a veteran wide receiver Tuesday. To read about it, click here.