Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

From an Embarrassment of Riches to Just Plain Embarrassment

Jesse Dumas
Mar 17, 2015 at 1:49 PM

This is what happens when you cut the head off an organization. All hell breaks loose.

It's well past time to stop lamenting the loss of the finest head coach this franchise has seen in the last 20 years, but holy-living-Christ, do the hits just keep on coming!

I'll admit, I scoffed initially at the narrative that all the players were jumping ship due to the regime change. Losing Frank Gore, Mike Iupati, the cornerbacks, all that was to more or less be expected considering the free agency talent pool and the cap numbers in play. But the early exits of Pat Willis, now Chris Borland, and more than likely Justin Smith (ok, a not-so-early exit in his case), smack of a team that has no reason to keep fighting the good fight. No hometown discounts this year, no suit-em-up-one-last-time-and-get-it-done storylines. It's hard to leave a team or a group if you feel you're a part of something special, something bigger, but when it's every man for himself, opting out is a hell of a lot easier.

Jed York sent a pretty clear message that there was plenty to him that was more important than winning this year. He expects the respect being at the top of the hierarchy usually commands and should that fail him, he'll use the inherent power he's been gifted and make nice, big, ham-fisted cuts. It's his team after all, the future be damned.

Canning the most successful coach in decades, asshole or no, doesn't resonate within the locker room, it spreads doubt like a virus. Sure, I'm guessing more than a few players are fine fans of Jim Tomsula, but he ain't the hard-driving workaholic lunatic the last guy was. You may not want to have Jim Harbaugh over to meet your parents or speak at your wedding, but if you need to win football games, this was your guy.

There was still enough leadership in the locker room that remembered what it was like before he got here, and just as we fans dread a return to the bad-old-days, those players have to dread it even worse. Sure, they're professionals and there's the paychecks to prove it, but those guys that have had enough skin in the game all these years and made their money, why stick around to watch the whole thing grind into mediocrity?

I'm sure Jed's far too busy to read small-time hacks like myself, but if he happens to glance at this little piece, I'd like to give him some advice about being like his uncle Eddie, someone he so desperately wants to be identified with.

You want respect? You show it.

Recall the imagery of Eddie Debartolo in the locker room hugging and laughing and crying with his players. Remember Eddie punching out a Green Bay fan in Lambeau after a particularly tough playoff loss. That was no show, Jed. No cloying to the media. No hollow words crafted by PR yes-men. Eddie respected the hell out of those players and he took care of them like no other owner in the league in that era and he wore that respect and love on his sleeve. Do your players even talk to you?

An owner that respected his players never would have undermined their coach, effectively torpedoing a season, and run him out of town in such a fashion. It's more than bad business, it's disrespectful, shameful, and embarrassing. Now we're all getting to see that, as usual, you reap what you sow.

Be careful what you wish for, Mr. York. You wanted your coach gone, and you got it, but it's becoming increasingly obvious that you never considered what dominos might start falling as a result. Please, take yourself out of this bubble you live in, that of the historically out-of-touch decision making, and start respecting your team, not to mention your fan base.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • Brian
    You're right, Jesse, with regards to my opinion not being any more important than yours. Please accept these words from Exodus 20:7 (the 3rd commandment) instead. "You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse His name." Not my words or my opinion Jesse . . . . just the honest truth offered in love.
    Mar 21, 2015 at 6:18 PM
    Response: And in your opinion, that book was written as the breath of God. I don't share that opinion.
  • Brian
    "Holy living Christ". Really? You may be upset and unhappy with the off season the 49ers are having (who isn't?) but please show respect for the Lord's name and be sensitive to Christians who find this level of insensitivity offensive. He deserves our utmost respect and reverence, not crass language to emphasize a point. Thank you.
    Mar 21, 2015 at 5:26 PM
    Response: The interesting thing about communication is that it's all based on one person's perspective. What's completely innocuous to one person might be completely unacceptable and offensive to another. I'm telling you right now that, as a Christian, I don't get offended by such a phrase. I can respect that your opinion is different than mine, but you sure as hell can't tell me that yours is any more important than mine. I'll continue to write in any style I choose, you can choose to read it or not. Happy Easter Brian.
  • Scott
    While I'll agree to most of that I think one thing is missing and that doomed Jed and Harbaugh. He was not willing to part with Greg Roman. Harbaugh played into this as much as Jed. I totally agree he no where near the owner Eddie was and I doubt we will ever have another owner like him. It is to business oriented now.
    Mar 20, 2015 at 4:10 AM
  • zachameen
    Hay Jesse, Thank you for not banning me from leaving comments here, unlike Matt Maiocco and others for showing my 49ers fan emotions. I never used cuss words but I am still banned from leaving comments. I have been a 49ers fan since they have won their first Superbowl. I still love and respect Eddie Debartolo for what he did for the City of San Francisco. I hate York family which turned 49ers to a laughing joke of entire NFL. They are only interested in making money and don't care about the game of Football. I really want York Family to sell 49ers because they are "NOT" worthy of owning this team. They killed the team spirit. They turn 49ers Stadium into flee market. ****
    Mar 18, 2015 at 5:45 PM
    Response: No Worries! Thanks for reading!
  • 50 year FORMER faithful
    I quote the silver spoon boy numbskull: "And I think what we're trying to do is build a team that focuses on our core strengths. I think we got away from that a little bit. I think we tried to do too much and be something that we weren't. I think you're gonna see us get back to the basics, get back to letting our players go out and make plays. . . . You look at our offense last year. It wasn't I think where it should have been. I think we have better talent than what our results showed." I think I think I think I think blahblah blah bla YOU DONT KNOW JACK SHIT JED, YOU GOT AWAY FROM WINNING BECAUSE YOU LET BAALKE BACKSTAB HARBAUGH AND THEN THREW HARBAUGH UNDER THE BUS BEFORE THE SEASON EVEN STARTED. AFTER 3 NFC TITLE GAMES AND ONE SUPER BOWL APPEARANCE?? YOU ARE AN IDIOT, A COMPLETE FULL FLEDGED SILVER SPOON DIPSHIT IDIOT. ENJOY WATCHING THE TEAM LOSE FROM THE OWNERS BOX OF YOUR CRAPPY NEW STADIUM DEVOID OF FANS WHO DONT WANT TO PAY TO WATCH LOSING YORK FOOTBALL. YOU WILL NEVER WIN A SUPER BOWL, EVER, EVER, YOU INCOMPETENT FRAUD
    Mar 18, 2015 at 4:37 PM
    Response: He should never, ever, be talking about strategy on the field. Defer that to your coach and GM.
  • ashamed
    The Dork Family perpetrated the biggest scam since manhattan went for a bag of beans... Bagholders aka season ticket holders would otherwise revolt if not for the fact their brains are being roasted in that joke of a toaster oven... And a dark and dismal age dawned upon the land....
    Mar 18, 2015 at 4:17 PM
  • Dallas Niner Fan
    Great article, totally agree. Your readers need to learn how to read before they criticize you. You didn't say that players were leaving because of York, you said: " It's hard to leave a team or a group if you feel you're a part of something special, something bigger, but when it's every man for himself, opting out is a hell of a lot easier." The fact that the 49er organization is a rudderless ship that makes bad decisions is the main issue here and it filters down in the organization in many ways. When players make the decision to leave an organization there are many factors that go into the decision and its not unreasonable to conclude that lack of leadership at the top is a big part of that overall final decision. Hope you don't mind my interpretation of your fine piece.
    Mar 18, 2015 at 12:03 PM
    Response: Good interpretation and a fair assessment. Thanks for reading!
  • Dario
    First off wasn't happy they let Harbaugh go, but we got to move on. As far as the retirements and free agent loses they were going to happen even if Harbaugh stayed. Will I miss those players, sure. But will be fine with Hyde, Bush, Hunter in the backfield and most people forget about OG Brandon Thomas who we drafted and stashed. Torrey Smith will be a big plus at WR, as far as the defensive loses that's why we have a draft. Tomsula has been getting hammered and I'm sure he will bring the us against the world mentality to the team. This is still a good football team !! And like I tell people this is the best time to be a Niner fan the bandwagoners are jumping off, the so so fans a whining, and all that's left is us Faithful !!
    Mar 18, 2015 at 10:48 AM
    Response: Talent wise, still a lot going for this group. The coaching staff could shock everyone, but it would be just that, a shock.
  • tee perez
    Jed york if your listening you need to start listening, and if your not then REALLY NEED TO START LISTENING.... because alot of your decision making lately shows lack of respect and lack of understanding.... bottom line SO WHAT if you own the team ,, WITH OUT YOUR FAN BASE YOU AINT NOTHIN.... all the money in the world cant buy you your teams respect and loyalty..... start putting the team first and not your ego
    Mar 18, 2015 at 10:42 AM
  • Mutant-man49
    To even compare the talent on this team to what Sanders dealt with is moronic. Smith has contemplated retirement for the last few years, Willis' body just could do it anymore and Borland is being proactive. I'm sure all three got together and planned this mass exodus because they're tired of Jed. Do you honestly believe that man? I can see Barry Sanders leaving but 3 players from one team colluding together is ridiculous. While you're at it, why don't you "blame Jed" for the retirements of Locker and Worilds this offseason as well.
    Mar 18, 2015 at 10:35 AM
    Response: Thanks for reading Mutant, just read a little closer next time and maybe get your parents to help you with the big words. Colluding would mean they made the decision together, never implied that. They, as individuals, decided that strapping it up for another year wasn't worth the effort and part of that decision was likely made on the fact that they'd be starting over with a new head coach. As far as Barry Sanders is concerned, that dearth (that means "lack")of talent was due to shitty management. Barry knew that wasn't going to change and he hung em up.
  • NJ Niners
    There are two positive things and that will happen this year and they are we will get the first draft pick in 2016 and a new GM who will not be a YES man!!!
    Mar 18, 2015 at 3:37 AM
    Response: I don't think they're going straight to the cellar and I still contend Baalke knows football talent, but the coaching staff is 2nd rate at best right now.
  • Chuck Weber
    No self respecting player is going to want to play for an owner that doesn't respect the head coach and his players. Hence the exodus. Jed Dork you deserve 1-15, I am so glad I off loaded my SBL seats.
    Mar 17, 2015 at 11:13 PM
    Response: Wow, that had to cost you.
  • Zach Ameen
    I also wonder why 49ers so heavily investing in coach Killer Kaeperror instead of letting him join New England Patriot as a third stringer behind Tim Tebow for NFL's minimum salary.
    Mar 17, 2015 at 10:14 PM
    Response: Lost me!
  • zach ameen
    I am starting to fee sorry for Tomsula. He is doomed from the start. He made a big mistake by taking a charge of a No-Team in Chaos.
    Mar 17, 2015 at 10:12 PM
    Response: He got a promotion he didn't deserve, can't fault the guy for taking it.
  • zach ameen
    My bad for Calling him a Dork :)
    Mar 17, 2015 at 10:09 PM
    Response: All good in here friend!
  • Mutant-man49
    Really Dum-ass....I guess Willis, Smith and Borland are the first trio in the history of sports to choose retirement over playing for a shitty owner?LMFAO! How stupid does that sound? Of all the poorly run organizations over the years (Raiders, Clippers, Jets, Cubs, etc.), the Niners are the first one to have world class players so fed up with upper management, that hanging me up is the best option. If anything Dumas, I think your "blame Jed" mantra could sell thousands of t-shirts.
    Mar 17, 2015 at 9:26 PM
    Response: Barry Sanders did it. Try again. (Congrats on being the first person in the history of ever to make that joke about my name, I can just hear you chuckling audibly between your mouth breathing at the keyboard, so proud of your clever wit...)
  • Juju
    Therickestrick ! This Is a real article, expressing the real feelingings of a lot of Niner Empire! Jim was the rat thing that happened to our team in years, and to think that it can be replaced without backlash is nyeve !!
    Mar 17, 2015 at 9:25 PM
  • TheRickestRick
    Sounds like you peaked in journalism at West Valley and still weren't the top of your class. Do you really think any of the coaches had any say in a players heart? If you do then you should join a head start program. York is a punk for running Harbaugh out of town but to blame this offseason on management is plain ruhtarded. Is Harbaugh > God and purpose in Willis' eyes? Or > than possible permanent brain trauma in the eyes of Borland? Seriously just slap yourself for continuing the chicken little trend the zone wants to hear. Correlation does not imply causation. Please let us know your actually screen name so we can ignore your posts in the future.
    Mar 17, 2015 at 8:52 PM
    Response: My actual name is Jesse Dumas, thought I was pretty clear about that when I put it on the article. Never studied journalism at any level, except for a course or 2 at UW, but never have I ever out a gem of a sentence together like "Do you really think any of the coaches had any say in a players heart?" THAT SHIT DOESN'T EVEN MAKE SENSE RICK. Stay in your hole and leave the living alone.
  • Fresh
    Glad to see someone here has the balls to say something honest about this dumpster fire of a team. Im sick of all the kool aid drinkers and their rose colored glasses.
    Mar 17, 2015 at 8:39 PM
    Response: I keep it fresh, Fresh.
  • Mutant-man49
    Horseshit indeed! Players like Willis and Smith aren't going to let something like Jimmy being the head man sway them into retirement. Jimmy has been here since both came into the organization and Jimmy is widely respected by the players. Their decision had nothing to do with JT. To even think Borland's decision was a result of him not wanting to be part of the new regime is idiotic! People like you, the "conspiracy theorist," feel the need to place blame somewhere. Jed's the easy target so if you're really "tired" of what's going on, stop your bitching. The webzone and more importantly The San Francisco 49ers will continue with or without your support.
    Mar 17, 2015 at 8:36 PM
  • Canadian Bacon
    What has occurred and is occurring is not, as some have suggested, a natural evolution of a top team in transition with a large number of players reaching their maximum worth. While a turnover at some positions could have been expected, the overarching reality is that a power struggle in which the owner foolishly became involved created a tsunami that has swamped the organization with its after effects. Throughout the team and the league, it became apparent that control and who is the public face of the team is more important than results. As a consequence, when you look at the list of the coaches and players that have left, and compare them to their supposed replacements on the 2015 team, it can be said that, in each case, the replacement is of inferior ability to the previous incumbent (Torrey Smith may be an exception). You don't win in the NFL just by coming up with warm bodies to replace high level players and coaches. In the language of the day, you are looking for players who can make plays that win games, not simply punch a clock. And the reputation that you establish by making winning the first priority percolates throughout the sport and attracts winners. This is gone.
    Mar 17, 2015 at 8:11 PM
  • Jonathan
    I don't want to say it but when ever I say "What else could go wrong?" Murphys Law shows up...I don't want to go thru 8 years of looking forward to the draft after week 3...
    Mar 17, 2015 at 8:01 PM
  • Reggie McConico
    Despite everything that has happened this off season, I still hold onto hope that this team will get it together before the upcoming season starts. I have continued to chalk these recent retirements and free agency losses (excluding Borland) as just part of the business and coincidental occurrences. Now after the the sudden Borland retirement, I'm looking at things from a whole other perspective. Maybe there is something more to this extremely crappy off season we are having that I fear will probably get worse when it's all said and done. As a fan of the 49ers since 1978, I'm not going anywhere. I have been through some tough time before with this team. I don't remember it ever being this bad before. Especially in such a relatively short period of time! I don't remember coaches not wanting to come here and coach the 49ers! This is completely Jed's fault! Now maybe Harbaugh was a jerk or extremely difficult to get along with but are you're telling us we are in a better situation as an organization today? I'm telling you that without the 49ers Faithful, there wouldn't be a 49ers organization! I agree with a lot of the content in this article. Fan's perspective is always important.
    Mar 17, 2015 at 7:58 PM
  • RishikeshA
    Thanks for the article Jesse. I too am a long time fan dating back to YA and the million dollar backfield. Owners don't go through any special training to run a franchise, they're just rich. Jed has shown immaturity in his comments. Eddie D was from a different time and place, let's move on. The present situation is more of a perfect storm than managements' failure to perform. Sure, I've been pissed off like everyone else with what has been happening. The real issue with this team is can Kap take it to the next level. If he can this talk will die down as in an instant, if not, welcome to the D
    Mar 17, 2015 at 7:52 PM
    Response: Another great point. If Kap rebounds, it'll cover up a lot of smells
  • Dave B
    I've been a niner fan ever since I was old enough to understand football, I went to games in Kezar. I lamented the loss of Harbaugh because we were lost in the desert for 8 years before he came to the team. But never forget we are fans of the NINERS but they belong to someone else, someone rich usually someone arrogant and unfortunately in our case someone who doesn't really know as much about football as he should if he wants to be successful. Eddie Debartolo was successful because he got out of the way of his football people. This kid is just the son of someone wealthy, and he's too arrogant to get out of the way. I'll always love the Red and Gold but I'm afraid we maybe headed back into the desert.
    Mar 17, 2015 at 7:15 PM
    Response: Sooooo many comments have started this way. "I've been a fan for x years and I've never bailed on the team..." I think it's a common feeling with a lot of us and the bad juju is just thick right now. We're the laughingstock of the league right now and the team is still more talented than most, doesn't often happen but I just know it's going to get worse before it gets better. Hoping I'm wrong.
  • DJ
    I don't care about Harbaugh and his flunky Greg Roman. There offense only got worse over 4 years. I won't miss them. Now guys like Vic Fangio and Ed Donatell on the other hand were mistreated. All they did was keep our defense top 5 four years straight and what did they get for it? Shown the door. You better believe guys like Pat Willis, Justin Smith and Borland took notice how Fangio were casted off like he was nothing.
    Mar 17, 2015 at 6:43 PM
    Response: Excellent Point, DJ. The subsequent fumbling of the coaching search was equally as egregious as the ouster to begin with.
  • Steve
    I totally disagree with this article. How do you know those 2 players wouldn't have retired if Harbaugh didn't leave? How do you know the free agents that left would have or could have stayed if Harbaugh was here? Last, Im sick of hearing about 3 championship games and the 2nd coming of Vince Lombardi. As I see it.......what have you done for me lately! How convenient we forget the 4th season 8-8 with losses to a terrible Bears team, a Cardinal team with a backup qb, a bad Ram team oh and lets not forget the 10,000 point lead we had against the Chargers and didn't hold. If you ask me I see a team that quit on the coach
    Mar 17, 2015 at 6:22 PM
    Response: You could argue that this was a lame-duck year and the players were in shell shock from how things were in that building. Hey, opinions are like a-holes, everybody's got one.
  • a24hrdad
    I have always supported the 49ers through good times and bad. I stood by my team when we parted with Montana and Rice. Then after moving to Florida 10 years ago, I still always found a way to go to games when nearby or root at my local sports bar when we really struggled. I always felt like they made moves to try to improve the team. From the Dennis Erickson and Mike Singletary eras, it was usually only me sporting a red jersey out here. When things got good the last few years, suddenly I wasn't alone. That being said, I have had a sick feeling in my gut since the last off-season. And after the way everything that has happened this year, I feel like Jed dumped me. I don't blame him for wanting a coach that's on the same page, but then to fire almost the entire staff and replace them with outcasts from other teams? We couldn't even bribe a successful OC to come over. Don't forget we signed WR Simpson despite our "new values" too. So I agree with the writer and his issues with ownership. This is Jed's organization and he has established a new culture. He may not make every decision, but he pays the people who do.
    Mar 17, 2015 at 6:20 PM
    Response: "Culture" is the key word. The leaks about the coaching staff before the start of the season was categorically unprofessional and childish. Absolutely counterproductive in every way. Players are grown men and they know a rat when they see one.
  • Zach Ameen
    Sad that no one wants to play for 49ers. retirement of rookie is an insult thrown at Dork. No one want to coach 49ers. I think 49ers will lose a lot of money in ticket sale this year but Dork going to make money by inviting San Jose Flee market to have events in Santa Clara Stadium for all year around. Dork has no sense of running football business.
    Mar 17, 2015 at 6:09 PM
    Response: Ha, you called him Dork.
  • DLM
    Before you disregard my post and chalk me up to a cool-aid drinking idiot here me out. I understand that people are not happy with Balke and York but we do not know the full story. We can all speculate and assume that the rift was this or that but unless you sat in the meetings between the front office and Harbaugh then you can only Ass-ume, nothing more. I have been a fan since the 70's and we had some bad ownership, coaches and stupid moves... like picking up OJ Simpson when he couldn't run 10 yards on his broke down legs. I have followed them then and I will continue to... why?? Because they are my team just as the SF Giants, the GS Worriers are my teams and I have suffered through bad years with all of my teams. So complain all you want but to make bold statements that aren't factual is bad reporting. Also to say we are cool-aid drinking fools because we will still cheer for our team is assinine.... what are we to do start cheering on the Raiders- hahahaha- ya right that's a great idea. That is what being a fan is about- we complain but we always hope!!
    Mar 17, 2015 at 6:06 PM
    Response: Isn't that what I'm doing? Complaining but still remaining hopeful? I'll cheer for this team to win, but York can lick my culo.

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