The San Francisco 49ers have suspended broadcaster Tim Ryan for saying that Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has an advantage in faking handoffs because of his “dark skin with a dark football,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.
According to the Chronicle, the comments were made Monday during Ryan’s weekly segment on local radio station KNBR’s “Murph and Mac” morning radio show when discussing Jackson’s exceptional performance last weekend against the Niners.
Jackson rushed for over 100 yards in the Ravens’ 20-17 win, many of which came after successfully faking handoffs and running the ball himself.
“He’s really good at that fake, Lamar Jackson, but when you consider his dark skin with a dark football with a dark uniform, you could not see that thing,” Ryan said on air, according to the Chronicle. “I mean you literally could not see when he was in and out of the mesh point and if you’re a half step slow on him in terms of your vision forget about it, he’s out of the gate.”
Ryan, who is suspended for one game, gave a statement of apology to the Chronicle, and the 49ers gave a statement calling Ryan a “man of high integrity,” adding that he has apologized to team personnel privately.
“I regret my choice of words in trying to describe the conditions of the game. Lamar Jackson is an MVP-caliber player and I respect him greatly. I want to sincerely apologize to him and anyone else I offended,” Ryan’s statement read.
The 49ers also said they reached out to the Ravens to apologize.
Dr. Harry Edwards, the San Jose State University professor and civil rights activist behind Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ 1968 Olympics protest (who has also served an adviser to Colin Kaepernick, among many other things) also spoke to the Chronicle about Ryan’s comments.
Edwards, who knows Ryan, said that he didn’t think the “unfortunate” comments came from a point of malicious intent but called it a “learning moment.”
Lamar Jackson with the Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson with the Baltimore Ravens
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: Lamar Jackson of Louisville poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being picked #32 overall by the Baltimore Ravens during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 18: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens is tackled as he carries the ball by free safety Jessie Bates #30 of the Cincinnati Bengals in the first quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on November 18, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - NOVEMBER 25: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens rushes for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Oakland Raiders at M&T Bank Stadium on November 25, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 02: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens reacts after their 26-16 win over the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 2: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens is interviewed after the game against the Atlanta Falcons by Tracy Wolfson as ZaDarius Smith #90 joins in at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - JANUARY 06: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens stiff arms free safety Derwin James #33 of the Los Angeles Chargers in the second half during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 06, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 08: Willie Snead #83 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates with Lamar Jackson #8 after scoring a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins during the second quarter at Hard Rock Stadium on September 08, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens shakes hands with a young fan prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at M&T Bank Stadium on September 15, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 29: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on after a play against the Cleveland Browns during the second half at M&T Bank Stadium on September 29, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)