Richard Sherman among 49ers defending suspended announcer Tim Ryan's comment on Lamar Jackson's skin tone

On Wednesday, the San Francisco 49ers suspended radio announcer Tim Ryan for comments he made about Lamar Jackson’s skin tone.

On Thursday, multiple 49ers players came to Ryan’s defense, including cornerback Richard Sherman.

Ryan, a radio analyst, said on KNBR's "Murph and Mac” on Monday following San Francisco’s loss to Baltimore that the Ravens quarterback’s skin tone gives him an edge during play fakes.

“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, according to the San Francisco 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.”

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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)
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Sherman: ‘I wasn’t as outraged as everybody else’

Sherman came to Ryan’s defense on Thursday when speaking with reporters at 49ers practice, saying that Ryan made valid points but could have chosen better words.

“I know Tim personally, and I listened to the dialogue and saw it written, and honestly I wasn’t as outraged as everybody else," Sherman said. "I understand how it can be taken under a certain context and be offensive to some. But if you're saying, 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 sometimes he's swinging his arm real fast, and you're like, Ok, does he have the ball? And you look up and [Mark] Ingram is running it. So it was technically a valid point, but you can always phrase things better. You can always phrase things and not say ‘his black skin.’”

Sherman: Ryan made ‘a great point’

Sherman continued to call Ryan a “great guy” and a “professional” with whom he’s had a relationship since he joined the 49ers in 2018. He said he didn’t think anybody in the San Francisco locker room took offense to Ryan’s statement, which he called a “great point.”

“100 percent it’s an issue,” Sherman said of defenders having difficulty locating the ball when playing against Jackson. “What he presented — that’s why it wasn’t that offensive. Because what he was saying was a great point.”

Dee Ford: ‘We’ve got his back’

San Francisco defensive end Dee Ford also came to Ryan’s defense on Thursday.

“He walked up to me earlier, and before he even said anything, I told him ‘I’ve got your back,’” Ford said. “I already knew the story — words kinda 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. I knew what he was trying to say. This era we live in. It’s just what it is.”

Like Sherman, Ford said that he knows Ryan personally and vouched for his character.

“There’s not one type of bone — you know the bone I’m talking about — in his body,” Ford said. “So put that to bed really fast.”

Ryan works as the 49ers radio color commentator on game days. He’s suspended for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints and will presumably return to his duties after the one-game ban.

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