By Erin Sherbert
By Howard Cole
By Erin Sherbert
By Erin Sherbert
By Leif Haven
By Erin Sherbert
By Chris Roberts
By Kate Conger
Fresh off a humiliating 2-14 season, the 49ers found themselves grappling with an off-the-field disaster last week, after the San Francisco Chronicle received an anonymous package that contained a raunchy in-house training video on "dealing with the media" produced by and starring 49ers Public Relations Director Kirk Reynolds. Featuring racial jokes, topless blondes, lesbians, and a parody of gay marriage, the video also includes scenes filmed in Mayor Gavin Newsom's City Hall office, wherein Reynolds impersonates and mocks Newsom. By the time the Chronicle broke the story and put the video on its Web site, Reynolds had quietly been released by the team, but the fallout was immediate: City, team, and league officials condemned the 15-minute video and called for new diversity training policies at 49ers headquarters. Many players and fans, however, defended the video as an inside joke, not at all representative of Reynolds or the 49ers, and one that was never intended to be broadcast beyond the organization. Are you an apologist for the San Francisco 49ers' diversity training video? Take our quiz and find out!
1) The video opens in Chinatown, where a 49ers staff member portrays a Chinese man with buckteeth, glasses, and an over-the-top accent who translates news about the team from an Asian newspaper. He introduces himself as Suck Hung, his brother as Suck Young, and explains: "My whole family suck." Do you think this scene will help professional football players new to San Francisco appreciate the city's ethnic culture?
A) Absolutely not. But you know what would have been funny? If Reynolds had said, "I'll never work another day in PR again," in Chinese.
B) Dialogue like that makes me wonder: Does Kirk Reynolds have an Annie Hall in him?
C) Ha ha! That's friggin' hilarious. Of course, I'm one of those white people whose wardrobe consists entirely of jerseys.
2) Reynolds' mockery of gay marriage and Mayor Newsom -- who blasted the team after the tape's airing -- comes at a particularly bad time for the 49ers, who are trying to persuade City Hall to back proposals for a new stadium. What impact do you think the video will have on relations between the city, the team, and fans?
A) Just another reason for gays to hate professional football and actually do something productive with their Sunday afternoons.
B) A new stadium? Gosh, what's wrong with Candlestick?
C) My prediction: It's going to make an absolute star out of linebacker Jeff Ulbrich, who turns in a mesmerizing performance of raw power as a player who is thrown into jail and warned not to "bend over for the soap."
3) Shortly after the revelation of the first training video, a second tape emerged, made in 2003 and obtained by local television station KRON 4. Although more tame than Reynolds' 2004 effort, the earlier video contains plenty of bathroom humor and several scenes at the Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theatre -- including a sight gag in which Reynolds boasts a noticeable bulge in his pants after a clothed stripper gives him a lap dance. What surprises you most about this tape coming to light?
A) The phrase "obtained by television station KRON 4."
B) That a stripper was clothed.
C) That a man possessing Reynolds' obvious genius for comic subtlety was forced to resort to a cheap erection joke. At least, I'm assuming it was a joke ... you said the bulge was noticeable. (Bonus point for adding your own rimshot.)
4) The video was mailed anonymously to columnist Joan Ryan of the San Francisco Chronicle, who waited 10 days before acting on its contents. Many in San Francisco were surprised at the Chronicle's subsequent treatment of the story, with an above-the-fold headline of "49ers Personal Foul" stretched across the entire front page on the same day the identity of Deep Throat was revealed. Do you think the Chronicle made too much of the story?
A) Wait a minute, I'm still trying to figure out why someone sent it to Joan Ryan.
B) Yes. This is no big deal, just the kind of humor that's been commonplace in locker rooms forever. Except way, way less funny, and a lot more awkward and pathetic.
C) Hey, it was Linda Lovelace, right? Am I right? I've been telling everyone that for years ....
5) Players have been staunch in their support of Reynolds, who they claim is getting an unfair rap in the media. Which of the following quotations from 49ers players defending Reynolds most closely reflects your opinion on the video?
A) Center Jeremy Newberry: "[Reynolds] was just trying to show people's biases and how stupid people can be."
B) Linebacker Julian Peterson: "It wasn't meant to harm anybody or be any kind of negative message at all."
C) Safety Tony Parrish: "Is the video insensitive? Yes. But what type of video is it? It's a public relations video. 'How not to' type of video. It's the same type of sarcasm and satire that has Dave Chappelle as the No. 1 show." (Bonus point for admitting that even though you think you agree, you have no idea what analogy Parrish is drawing.)
6) The video reinforces negative cultural stereotypes, objectifies women and minorities, and panders to the kind of closed-minded, junior-high mentality it's supposedly attempting to enlighten. What, to you, is the tape's most appalling element?
A) That it came from an organization with a proud track record in relating to the community's gay population (and I'm thinking specifically, here, of the stories of abuse inflicted by players on the team's now-retired gay trainer, and of former running back Garrison Hearst saying he wouldn't play with any "faggots" on his team). I mean, who'da thunk it?
B) The scene with linebacker Julian Peterson posing as a homeless person, with a sign that says "Will tackle for food or money." Last year he didn't tackle for shit.
C) Honestly, the lesbians could be much hotter.
7) Embattled owner John York first viewed portions of the training video five months ago, when outgoing General Manager Terry Donahue -- who has vehemently denied leaking the tape -- showed him snippets. According to the 49ers, York launched an internal investigation that didn't get very far -- until anonymous copies of the video began circulating to the media last week, when he said in a statement: "We regret that anyone from our organization would produce such senseless, inexcusable behavior." What do you think York's response indicates about his leadership style?
A) That it's senseless and inexcusable.
B) All I know is, it's hard to imagine this kind of thing happening on Eddie DeBartolo's watch. Well, OK, except for the strippers.
C) I'm genuinely confident that York is serious about putting policies in place to ensure nothing like this ever happens again. Then again, I also see nothing weird about the fact that Jeff Garcia was dating a Playmate.
How to score:
Score zero points for every "A" answer, one point for every "B," and two points for every "C."
0-6 points: Hey, boys will be boys. And grown millionaires will be blithering idiots.
7-10 points: Yes, the training tape is offensive. But as bad as last season's video yearbook? No way.
11-14 points: Congratulations, you're a true 49ers apologist. I have a feeling you won't have nearly as tough a time getting those season tickets this year ....