Tape-Gate

Instead of using the first day of June to further evaluate his team and make some late spring tinkering to his ever-evolving roster, Mike Nolan was left Wednesday to clean up the mess resulting from a bizarre in-house video that has caused an uproar in San Francisco and outraged both team and city officials. "I think it was in bad taste however you look at it," Nolan said. "This will not be tolerated and this is not what the 49ers organization is about and never will be."

The 15-minute-long video, which was meant to prepare 49ers players for dealing with the media, was produced last year and shown to players last summer as part of a diversity workshop.

It was meant to be seen only by team players and coaches, but a copy of the video was leaked to a San Francisco newspaper, which immediately made the video's contents very public.

And the Niners, once regarded as the epitome of NFL class, were left aghast as the video featured a voluminous array of questionable antics that included racial jokes and risque humor, gay marriage spoofs, lesbian soft-porn and topless women.

The video features Kirk Reynolds, the team's director of public relations who now is looking for another job outside the organization, impersonating San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom in the mayor's office and other places around town. Reynolds had received permission from city officials to use City Hall with the understanding that the video was going to be a training film.

Reynolds said he made the video to coach players on handling media questions in diverse San Francisco, but he was quoted as saying, "Did I push it too far? I did. The ideas of the tape are appropriate for the locker room – though some of the subjects were inappropriate for the values of this organization, and mine, frankly."

Newsom told a Bay Area television station, "the video is reprehensible."

In a statement released by the team, 49ers owners John and Denise York said, "Ostensibly, the video was created to raise player awareness about how to deal with the media and to demonstrate by example how poor conduct can unintentionally make news. Unfortunately, the video is an example in itself.

"The video is offensive in every manner. We deeply regret that anyone from our organization would produce such senseless, inexcusable material. A thorough investigation of this issue has been ongoing for some time, and actions and disciplines have been taken. Policies are being put into place to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again. The individuals responsible for producing the video have left or are leaving our employment. The content of this training material was never cleared by any officer of this organization and is absolutely contradictory to the ideals and values of the San Francisco 49ers."

Later in the day, the Yorks received support from the NFL in a statement that read, "We applaud 49ers' owners Denise and John York for their strong public criticism of the media training video that was shown to their team last summer and for taking appropriate disciplinary action in response. We share their view that the video was inappropriate, offensive in every respect, and of no value whatsoever. It does not reflect the 49ers' values and traditions or those of the League and its member clubs."

The video was meant to be funny and a parody of some of the issues 49ers player might face during their time in San Francisco. But it is clearly over the top, and as such, becomes another black eye for an organization that has taken more than a few of those over the past year.

Nolan, who said he has not seen the tape but has reviewed a written summary of it, took responsibility for the organization and apologized, though he "was not part of the regime" when the video was made and presented to players.

When asked how much of a distraction the incident is in the team's attempts to move forward, Nolan said, "It's a distraction, but I believe these kinds of things, personally, being new on the scene, are just going to make us stronger because it's adversity that we face. It's certainly not the kind of adversity that you want to face, but that was the old. It's come back to life today with the new regime, and it's not something that we've done that we're trying to correct, but it is something as an organization to know that these things will not be tolerated.

"I don't think it's done much to the (team's) morale, so to speak. They all understand the implications of what was done and the seriousness of what it was. But I believe they're all sensitive to the fact that it's not a good thing, it's not the way you represent yourselves and it's not what this organization is about."

When asked if the incident has been blown out of proportion, Nolan looked forward instead of backward in saying it's something the organization won't be faced with again.

"That's a good question, because it's a very serious matter," Nolan said. "But it is the old regime, so to speak, and we're going in a new direction. But it does bring to light some things that we want to make sure do not ever happen again.

"I will say this: We do a lot of the sensitivity training and we do it in the right manner. This (video) is an example of how you do not do it. It won't change anything from my standpoint before, because I've already changed that. In my mind, I'm ahead of the curve as far as this happening. This will not happen in the future, not because this just happened, but because that's not what I'm about (and) that's not what the 49ers will be about."


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