The San Francisco 49ers suspended radio analyst Tim Ryan for one game following remarks he made on-air suggesting the Baltimore Ravens’ quarterback Lamar Jackson’s “dark skin” helped him hide the football.
Ryan said on San Francisco-based station KNBR that Jackson’s “dark skin color” helped him hide a “dark football” during an interview discussing the recent 49ers match against the Ravens. The Ravens beat the 49ers 20-17 last Sunday.
“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 on the “Murph & Mac” radio show.
“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,” he added.
The 49ers announced Ryan’s one-game suspension in a statement, saying the team was “disappointed” but are “confident he will grow and learn from this experience.”
“We are disappointed in Tim Ryan’s comments earlier this week, and have suspended him for the upcoming game,” the statement said. “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. We know Tim as a man of high integrity and are confident he will grow and learn from this experience.”
The statement added that the team has “reached out to the Baltimore Ravens organization to extend our apologies and assure them the matter is not being taken lightly.”
Ryan apologized to Jackson and “anyone else I offended” in a separate statement lamenting his “choice of words.”
“I regret my choice of words in trying to describe the conditions of the game,” Ryan said. “Lamar Jackson is an MVP-caliber player and I respect him greatly. I want to sincerely apologize to him and anyone else I offended.”
The suspension comes after the National Football League and the 49ers have grappled with scandals involving race in recent years, kicked off in part by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem at games beginning in 2016 as a way to protest police brutality against black people in the U.S. His silent protests caught national attention, and even President Donald Trump weighed in. After playing six seasons with the 49ers, Kaepernick severed his contract in 2017. He has not been signed to a new team since.