BRADENTON, Fla. (AP)San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman said team radio analyst Tim Ryan personally apologized to him and several players for comments Ryan made regarding Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson on a sports talk show.
Ryan was suspended by the team for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints after he said during an interview on the 49ers’ flagship radio station that Jackson was adept at carrying out fakes because of his ”dark skin color with a dark football.” Ryan also issued a statement of apology through the team Wednesday.
Sherman said he didn’t believe there was any malicious intent behind Ryan’s comments.
”I’ve had a relationship with (Ryan) since I got here and he’s never been anything but a great guy and a professional and a guy who takes his job seriously,” Sherman said. ”It’s unfortunate that’s what it came to, but the team did what they had to do.”
Defensive lineman Dee Ford said Ryan approached him, ”and before he even said anything I told him, `I got your back.”’
”I already knew the story,” Ford said. ”The words got kind of out of context. Of course, I think he knows he could’ve used better judgment with his words. I knew what he was trying to say. This era we live in, it’s just what it is.”
Sherman said he understood how Ryan’s comments could be offensive to some.
”You can always phrase things better, you can always phrase things and not say `his black skin,”’ Sherman added. ”It’s a play where he’s talking football and he could’ve used better verbiage, but I don’t think anybody in this locker room has taken it offensively or anything. He’s apologized and we know his character so hopefully this can blow over and we can move past it.”
Sherman was diagnosed with a knee sprain after the 49ers’ 20-17 loss to Baltimore but he’s on schedule to play against the Saints after practicing on Wednesday and Thursday.
Ford also returned to practice Wednesday after missing the past two games with a hamstring injury.
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