There was a time when the 49ers were considered one of the classiest organizations in all of professional sports. But that sentiment is long gone, kind of like the club's playoff hopes. The long overdue fall of the 49ers may have reached it's apex recently after a 49ers training tape that included lesbian porn, racial barbs, and a shot at the mayor was released to the media.
And sadly, the lesbian porn does not include the DeBartolo daughters.
The video is about as offensive as a typical Saturday Night Live skit, but it's caused quite a firestorm in the Bay Area. PR Director Kirk Reynolds (who still owes us a Rams sweat suit) stars as embattled mayor Gavin Newsom as he gives a tour of the city. Some of the highlights include:
*A stereotypical Asian man doing Tim "Latte" and George Bush "erection" jokes. Maybe the 49ers were doing their own tribute to Reggie White.
*A spoof of a gay wedding, with two lesbians making out on the floor, and a black and white man exchanging vows.
*Reynolds, still playing Newsom, taking bribes and running up huge restaurant bills with tax-payer money.
*Linebacker Julian Peterson as a panhandler (he was holding out at the time).
There's also an expletive-laced skit on how to handle hecklers while being interviewed for TV, a scene on shower room etiquette that featured a topless blonde, and--as the grand finale--a towel-clad Reynolds frolicking with three topless women at a gentleman's club.
The only thing missing was a demonstration on what to do if you were caught in a seedy message parlor, like Jerry Rice.
The crude images and stereotypes were not that offense. Instead, we're offended as comedians as they went for the Bill Simmons-type, bottom of the barrel jokes here.
Was the video in bad taste? It was. But most locker room humor is. It wasn't like the 49ers made this video to be distributed to all of its fans and sponsors. Reynolds should have been more careful with the video, making only copy, making sure that he had the only copy, etc.
There is something far more disturbing going on here. The video, which again was only meant for the team's eyes, was leaked to the media by former executive Terry Donahue. The former UCLA also gave a copy of the video to owner John York on his last day with the 49ers.
Donahue felt that Reynolds had pushed him out the door in San Francisco and wanted to get revenge. Yeah, it was the PR director that was Donahue's downfall. It's not like the 49ers went from perennial Super Bowl contender to worst team in the NFL during his command. It was the PR director to blame. Not enough good press releases.
Reynolds looks like an idiot, but Donahue looks like a bitter. How can any team ever want to bring Donahue into the organization now after he has broken one of the cardinal rules of sports? What Reynolds did was bad, but what Donahue did was much worse in the eyes of the sports community.
It's bad enough that Donahue squandered some of the best college football talent during his tenure at UCLA, but now the guy looks like a vindictive teenager that would be better suited for The OC, instead of a football team. You had also better believe that there are things that happened at UCLA that Donahue would never want to go public.
Donahue now belongs in the same class of people that leaked the Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson video. Congratulations Terry, and good luck ever finding another job in football again.
And give credit to Reynolds; Nobody is talking about how much the 49ers suck now.
ONE FINAL THOUGHT
How do the 49ers always seem to get away with this? The club's former owner, Eddie DeBartolo was a freaking criminal. Jerry Rice was caught in a whorehouse. And nothing happens. ESPN never touches on the subject. And likewise, this scandal is quickly disappearing from public view.
If this was the Dallas Cowboys, this would have been front-page news. But for the 49ers they again escape unscathed.