San Francisco 49ers fans are pissed off right now. Jed York is the bigger issue for a lot of fans, but plenty take issue with the work of general manager Trent Baalke. The roster has struggled since multiple retirements and free agency departures, and the influx of talent over the past few drafts and free agency periods have not seen improvement. The team is now on track for potentially a two- or three-win season.
As many of you already know, there are some fans who are voicing their frustration. Conor McGuire and some other folks raised money on GoFundMe to fly a banner over Levi’s Stadium. The banner will say “Fire Trent Baalke.” This comes a season after they flew a banner over Levi’s Stadium two games that said Jed York and the 49ers should “mutually part ways.”
The original plan was for the first banner to fly over the stadium this weekend for the Saints game. Due to a scheduling issue, the first banner will instead fly over the stadium on November 20 when the 49ers face the Patriots. They raised enough money to fly it twice, and the second flight will be December 11 vs. the Jets.
I’ve made my thoughts fairly clear about the money being raised. I get people are frustrated, but I felt there were better ways to spend the money.
That being said, I certainly don’t begrudge people expressing themselves. Last year, I spoke with the creators of the Jed York banner, to get their thoughts on why they were doing it. I decided to get in touch with them again to get their thoughts on the banner. Here is the exchange I had with Conor. Thanks to Conor for taking a few minutes to discuss the situation.
Fooch: This is Fooch from Niners Nation. I wanted to get some of your thoughts about the new banner if you have a minute at some point today. Clearly you all (like many) want Trent Baalke fired. Say that happens, considering the 49ers could very well fire Trent Baalke even without this banner. What then? Jed York, the ultimate nemesis remains the CEO and the person hiring the next GM. I'm curious what your thoughts are on that, and moving forward.
Conor: Assuming Baalke is fired, I'd love to think that a second miserable season would force Jed to eat a piece of humble pie and maybe step back and find someone to run the football operations. But, I truly question if Jed's primary focus is in fact winning and not stuffing his own pockets. Based off past history, I wouldn't expect a legitimate GM search to occur, I think after a short period of time that Tom Gamble would simply step into the GM role. Is that a real improvement? I'm not sure, time will tell. Because we would be looking at a similar situation to what just happened in Philly with Chip having a major role in roster decisions. As for us, we do have a second banner planned and we will be solely focusing on Jed with that one. As fun as it is to fly banners (Jed would kill for one) over Levi's and mock Jed, we understand that the chances Jed and the York's walk away or sell the franchise are slim to none. So we really just have to hope he's smart enough to fire Trent and see where we land after that.
Fooch: Thanks Conor. That's some helpful info. Part of the reason I have not been overly supportive of donating to the banner cause is the idea of, "well, then what?" I've wanted to write about it, and if you don't mind me publishing these comments, that's a god starting point.
Conor: Totally understand the hesitance to support. Unfortunately, we can only do so much to vent our frustrations. Jed has said he wishes to hear from fans and holds himself accountable. But he's failed to make any attempt at letting the fans know what the vision and direction of the franchise are and he obviously has given us no true way to speak with him. We feel that reminding Jed of his shortcomings with banners flying overhead is one of the few ways we can actually get his attention.