SAN FRANCISCO: A San Francisco 49ers media training tape, laced with racial humor and racy images, is teaching the team an ironic lesson in media and community relations.
The San Francisco Chronicle broke the news of the media training tape on June 1, exposing the in-house training video's racial jokes, profanity, parody of gay marriage, and one scene where three topless women appear with PR director Kirk Reynolds.
The tape was meant to show players how to handle the media in the Bay Area. Reynolds appears throughout the tape, talking about how to deal with different media situations.
The team is now distancing itself from the video and working to repair potentially damaged relationships with local community groups, said Sam Singer, president of Singer Associates, the 49ers' agency. Calls to the club were referred to Singer.
Reynolds announced he was resigning from the team in late May, said Singer, before team management knew of the tape, or the Chronicle's story. The 49ers are searching for a new PR head. Reynolds has told the media his decision to move on was unrelated to the tape.
The club denounced the video as "reprehensible and tasteless," said Singer, communicating that sentiment to local press and sports media, as well as to the entire 49ers organization. The team is also reaching out to community and political leaders.
"The 49ers are also seeking additional assistance from the San Francisco Human Rights Commission on diversity training," said Singer.
"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," said team owners Denise and John York in a statement. "Unfortunately, this video is an example in itself."
The statement also said that the content of the video was never cleared by team management.
The Chronicle reported that the video was shown last year as a follow-up to a diversity workshop, which was originally organized after a player made anti-gay comments.