Greg Papa will be paired with Dennis Brown on Sunday for the Bay Area radio broadcast of the San Francisco 49ers' road game against the New Orleans Saints. That's because Tim Ryan, the regular color analyst, has been suspended by the team for his comments about Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson on Monday during an interview on KNBR.

"He's really good at that fake, Lamar Jackson, but when you consider his dark skin with a dark football with a dark uniform, you could not see that thing," Ryan said during the interview.

Cornerback Richard Sherman was asked on Thursday about Ryan's comments and didn't find them as offensive as most have since the team announced the suspension.

"Honestly, I wasn't as outraged as everybody else," Sherman told reporters. "I understand how it can be taken under a certain context, and be offensive to some, but if you're saying, 'Hey, this is a brown ball, they're wearing dark colors, and he has a brown arm,' honestly, sometimes we were having trouble seeing it on film. He's making a play fake, and sometimes he's swinging his arm really fast, and you're like, 'OK, did he have the ball on that play?' And then you look up, and (Mark) Ingram was running it.

"So, it was technically a valid point, but you can always phrase things better. You can phrase things and not say 'his black skin.'

"I've had a relationship with him since I got here. He's never been anything but a great guy, and a professional, and a guy who takes his job seriously, so it's unfortunate that's what it came to. The team did what they had to do, but in that situation, it's a play where he's talking football, and he could have used better verbiage.

"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 thing can blow over, and we can move past it."


Defensive end Dee Ford was also asked about Ryan's comments.

"He walked up to me earlier, and before he even said anything, I told him, 'I got your back,'" Ford responded. "I already knew the story. The words kind of got taken out of context. Of course, I think he knows now he could have used better judgment with his words, but we've got his back.

"I knew what he was trying to say. This era we live in, it's just what it is. But I know him personally. I speak to him a lot. He loves to watch the D-line, and there's not one type of bone — you know what bone I'm talking about — in his body, so I got his back. So, put that to bed really fast."


Papa, Ryan's broadcast partner, discussed the comments on Thursday during his show with John Lund on KNBR.

"All I will say is that the comments were offensive because they offended people," Papa told listeners. "And they offended a great many people. In what we do for a living, word choice is critically important, and his word choice was not on point. He's acknowledged that, and he's going to pay a stiff penalty for it."

Papa added: "Secondly, he's a tremendous broadcaster. He's also extremely detailed in what he does for a living. … I think what he was saying (about Jackson) speaks to the high level of detail of what he does as a football analyst. He doesn't watch football. He embraces and engulfs football like he's playing on the defensive line. … How many analysts would even give you that point? Again, his word choice was off base, but the level of detail in what he was saying about the quarterback is the highest level."

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