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49ers Apologize for Sex Video

San Francisco- The 49ers’ owners, John York and Denise DeBartolo York, apologized Wednesday for a players’ orientation video that contained racist and sexist material. At the same time, players defended the video’s star and producer, team public relations director Kirk Reynolds.

“The video was offensive in every manner,” the Yorks said in a statement. “We regret that anyone from our organization would produce such senseless, inexcusable behavior. … Policies are being put in place to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.”

The training video showed Reynolds, posing as the mayor of San Francisco, cavorting with topless dancers when the topic of dealing with women in the locker room is broached, spoofing gay marriage, and talking with a man in Chinatown who spoke in an exaggerated accent while wearing glasses and buck teeth.

Players appeared more upset that the tape on how to deal with the media, which was shown to the team during training camp in August, reached the public. The tape was sent to The Chronicle anonymously.

“It wasn’t meant to harm anybody or be any kind of negative message at all. It was supposed to be an in-house thing,” linebacker Julian Peterson said at the 49ers’ Santa Clara facility, where the team gathered for an off- season practice.

“I know Kirk personally. I know he has not addressed anybody with racial slurs. I’m just so upset this got out of proportion like this.”

Peterson appears on the tape as a panhandler saying that he will tackle for food. At the time the video was shot, Peterson had just ended a contract holdout. Peterson said his part of the video drew laughs from the team.

Safety Tony Parrish said that events that take place in a locker room or on a football field are not always for public consumption.

“Is the video insensitive? Yes,” Parrish said. “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 (comedian) Dave Chappelle as the No. 1 show. Knowing the context in which it was done, I don’t think it was as bad as everyone is making.”

Reynolds resigned last Thursday, according to Sam Singer, a spokesman for the Yorks. In a phone conversation Tuesday night, Reynolds said that his passion for his job waned, and that he has a job interview this week.

“Did I push it too far? I did,” Reynolds said.

Singer said Reynolds will be with the team until July, which gives the organization time to find a replacement, prepare for training camp and solidify the details for the team’s Oct. 2 date against the Arizona Cardinals in Mexico City.

Center Jeremy Newberry said, “I think they’re losing one of the best people in the building. So far, the way he’s been depicted in the media … is so far from who he is, it’s ridiculous.”

Newberry, who had surgery on his knee Tuesday, called the people who sent the tape “cowards.”

Coach Mike Nolan, who hasn’t seen the video and wasn’t with the organization when the tape was shown to players and coaches, said, “This is not what this team is all about.”

Nolan did see a written summary of the tape and called it “tasteless.”

An NFL spokesman said, “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,” the NFL statement said. “It does not reflect the 49ers’ values and traditions or those of the League and its member clubs.”

The NFL distributes booklets and a videotape that is supposed to be shown to players on dealing with the media and community relations.

“The standard approach is to use our video and supplement it with comments by the PR directors, head coach, etc.,” the league’s vice president for public relations, Greg Aiello, said.

Reynolds started supplementing the NFL message a few years ago by addressing the team in person, but started augmenting that with a video, he said, because of a fear of talking to groups. Players had told him that his presentation was too dry and that he needed to spice it up.

“He was just trying to show people’s biases and how stupid people can be, ” Newberry said.

Reynolds is the latest 49ers’ official to join an exodus that has occurred during the past two years. The 49ers have lost most of their coaching, marketing and scouting staffs, and will now be looking for a new director of public relations.



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