There are undoubtedly issues with Levi's Stadium. For the short term, it sounds like the field will continue to be replaced until it has a considerable amount of time to settle. Long term? The sun sounds like it can be pretty harsh. But, there are always going to be issues when a team moves into a new stadium. Something as colossus as Levi's is going to have some problems that couldn't be foreseen.
But is it almost single-handedly accounting for the supposed distaste management has for Jim Harbaugh and Harbaugh has for management? Yeah, I really don't think so. Yet, this is the thrust of Tim Kawakami's recent article: "Levi's lethargy, Part 2: The new stadium changed everything about the 49ers and how they look at each other." Kawakami argues that Levi's stadium has taken the Yorks from being one of the poorest owners to some of the richest. Their revenue stream is considerably enriched due to the new stadium. As a consequence, Harbaugh feels slighted: since he has made the franchise relevant again, he should be likewise profiting.
Kawakami attempts to demonstrate his argument by pointing out a mini-campaign that Harbaugh has been running with his body-language and other covert signs in the media. Canceling practice once because the field was in bad condition? Yup, that was a money-grab. Changing which sideline is the 49ers' so that they wouldn't have to stand in the sun during games? Greedy Harbaugh being vindictive about not being paid.
Don't get me wrong: Jed York makes a ridiculous amount of money. It's insane. And more of it should be going to Harbaugh. Also, more of that money should be going to the players. The salary cap is, well, an incredible disservice to the players. This is a whole different topic; I just bring it up to say that I'm not willy-nilly supporting York making a ton of money. I am, however, bringing the salary cap up because it exists.
At the end of the day, Kawakami just doesn't seem capable of reconciling his understanding of this team with reality. Baalke's name hardly comes up. But it should, because at one point, Kawakami cites Vernon Davis' and Alex Boone's holdout as evidence of this money "tug-o-war" culture. Additionally, he brings up Michael Crabtree and Mike Iupati, saying that "it wouldn't be wrong for them to wonder way the Yorks don't want to spend any of the new money on them."
Well, for one thing, Tim, the salary cap exists. Two, it is Baalke's job to decide who gets paid and who doesn't, not Jed's. Three, Crabtree and Iupati (and Davis and Boone, for that matter) aren't really that good anymore and the 49ers are probably going to look in another direction next season. Moreover, Harbaugh hasn't won a Super Bowl, which goes a long way in terms of getting a pay raise. If he had won one against his brother a few years back, there's no doubt in my mind that he would be on a different contract right now, and we might still be hearing about these problems because that's what happens when people don't like working with each other.
Look, there are going to be problems with the new stadium, including figuring out who is going to be the clientele base. That means there is going to be problems with fan noise. That's just a fact. You know what solves that problem, regardless of what sort of fan is in the stands? Winning. Particularly winning with a competent offense. That will go a long way to making people loud. When the 49ers punting it up against the Seahawks, I sure as hell heard boos. That was loud. Start winning, and the stadium will be loud.
I'll end with this: I haven't been to Levi's. In fact, for the last year and half, I've been a graduate student in Kansas. I've barely been back to California outside of holidays. Kawakami spends a lot of time around the team. His first-hand experiences are so much more valid than mine (because mine don't exist). Additionally, he's got sources. They probably tell him things. My source is this website, basically. But, this is why I felt the need to take on Kawakami's article: he's in a great position to identify actual problems with the stadium and critique them. Instead, he puts a whole bunch of speculation and body-language-reading into a crockpot for seven hours before spilling it all over his keyboard. That's doing the fans a disservice.