The San Francisco 49ers had a fairly busy Tuesday afternoon, returning to practice and signing Glenn Dorsey to a contract extension. Tuesday morning, however, featured some media work that entertained me to a certain extent.
There was a video and an article that were circulating on Twitter and in the NN comments, and they had people's blood boiling. Initially I was not going to write anything about the content, but after seeing responses to them, I figured it was time to provide my two cents.
I realize some don't want to give these page clicks or video views, but the entertainment value of all this makes them worth a look.
The first thing I saw was this video Jason Cole put together for Bleacher Report. You could kind of tell where it was going pretty quickly when the studio host opened with, "The San Francisco 49ers have lost their first two preseason games 57-3, and the locker room has been anything but happy. Jason Cole, NFL Insider, what are you hearing about this franchise right now?"
Cole then went into talking about how in talking with a couple players, there is unhappiness in the locker room with the organization. Players apparently are not happy with the team's practice habits, and also "a lot of dissension about money." In the latter comment, he mentioned Alex Boone, Vernon Davis, and Jim Harbaugh. He then mentioned Michael Crabtree and said his negotiations have gone nowhere. According to Cole, this has led to distractions.
Matt Maiocco was asked about this video in his chat, and he said, "I know of one player right now who is not happy with his pay. And he did not report to camp. I always hear grumblings, but it's not necessarily widespread."
I think the best summation though came from Alan Chee on Twitter:
So looks like Jason Cole figured out that players hate training camp & they want more money.... alright then. Thanks for the heads up.— Alan Chee (@agchee) August 19, 2014
What I did find annoying about the video was his mention of Colin Kaepernick. Cole said Kap "is going to find out how inadequate his contract was compared to a lot of other players." He said it was an issue that could fester through the season. I won't try and exaggerate too much, but sometimes it feels like people think Kap was blind-folded when he signed this contract. He has been repeatedly asked about the lower guaranteed money and the way it is structured. This is not some shocking revelation, but people can't get the notion that he wants to help the team. And they also ignore the fact that he is going to make a ton of money off this deal.
All in all, the video is amusing for the fact that it really doesn't tell us anything of significance. It's better to laugh it off than get angry.
Later in the day, everyone's favorite Bay Area columnist wrote another article about Jim Harbaugh's contract situation. Anything from Kawakami hits a nerve with a lot of people, but in reality, this article did not provide more than what we already knew, or could at least probably figure out on our own.
After basically saying, "everybody's going to hate me for this", Kawakami said this:
This is just what I've heard from several NFL sources, some who know Jim Harbaugh well, and I'll say that 80% of the NFL people I talk to assume that there's a strong chance that this will be Harbaugh's final season with the 49ers.
Later, he tweeted this:
The Harbaugh apologists are going wild. I said most in the league think it's 50/50 he stays past this year. If you hate that, don't read me.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) August 19, 2014
I can understand why 49ers fans would read the article as saying more than the 50/50 TK mentioned in the tweet. The wording in the article was vague, but it was also hitting on a topic we've heard plenty about. Of course, other NFL sources think Harbaugh might leave, and of course other teams are plotting around that possibility.
If the 49ers do not win the Super Bowl this year, it does raise questions about the future. This is not a shocking revelation. If the 49ers win the Super Bowl, it becomes fairly easy for Jed York to back up a Brink's truck and pay Jim Harbaugh whatever he wants. TK views it as a bit more of a battle between Baalke and Harbaugh, in some kind of "long-term big-picture push-pull."
I can see why people get annoyed by Kawakami's articles on this. He sees a story here, and has latched on and won't let go. He is a journalist, and it is his job to track this story down wherever it might lead. And given that it would be a pretty huge story if Harbaugh left the 49ers after this season, I completely understand where he's going with this. He has sources telling him certain things, and so he continues to pursue this. I disagree with some of his analysis, but I get where he's coming from. I don't think this is a vendetta against Harbaugh, or that he hates the 49ers. He writes with more personality given his role as a columnist, but he is writing about this because he perceives there to be a pretty huge story.
With both of these pieces of content, I think people get worked up over something that is not worth the anger. People respond to Kawakami like he kicked their dog. He enjoys engaging the trolls on Twitter, and his articles certainly draw them out. I don't think he is necessarily trying to piss people off with his writing. Rather, he is looking for the biggest stories, and often that can lead to stories that are going to piss off fans. This is not really meant as a defense of Kawakami, but rather a defense of just using common sense and logic when considering the content. It applies to the Kawakami article and the Cole video in equal parts to some extent.