An in-house video meant to prepare 49ers players for dealing with the media backfired on the NFL team Wednesday after it was leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle. The 15-minute film, featuring racist jokes, lesbian soft-core porn, and topless blond women, includes footage of the team's public relations director, Kirk Reynolds, impersonating San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom in the mayor's office and other city scenes.
Now the mayor is outraged, the team's owners are embarrassed, and Reynolds is officially looking for another job. The Chronicle on Wednesday described the film and published an image showing Reynolds with the half-naked women under a screaming headline. Reynolds said he made the video to coach players on handling media questions in diverse San Francisco--and never meant it for public consumption. "Did I push it too far? I did," Reynolds said. "The ideas of the tape are appropriate for the locker room, though some of the subjects were inappropriate for the values of this organization--and mine, frankly."
The video, which was sent anonymously to the Chronicle, was shown to players last August during training camp in Santa Clara, where it was part of a diversity workshop. Then-general manager Terry Donahue showed a snippet to team owner John York in January, just one day before he was fired, and then sent a copy to York at his request in March. Team lawyer Ed Goines got the tape about three weeks ago, the Chronicle reported.
Team owners Denise and John York called it offensive, inexcusable, and "absolutely contradictory to the ideals and values of the San Francisco 49ers" in a statement Wednesday. "Ostensibly, 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," the Yorks said. "Unfortunately, this video is an example in itself."
The Yorks didn't address Reynolds's future, and the 49ers declined to comment specifically on Reynolds. Goines said in a statement that the team's executives never reviewed or approved of the video and have since issued "appropriate discipline to the person or persons responsible." Reynolds did not immediately return a call seeking comment Wednesday from the Associated Press. But team spokesman Jason Jenkins told the Associated Press Wednesday that Reynolds "has planned to leave for some time."
Reynolds opens the film sitting behind the mayor's desk, then goes to Chinatown, where a 49ers trainer uses racial slurs about Chinese people. Next comes a topless lesbian wedding filmed at a strip club and officiated by Reynolds, again impersonating the mayor. "I know the courts say we can't do this," says Reynolds before the happy couple engages in heavy petting. "We make our own rules here in San Francisco."
Reynolds then goes to SBC Park, where as the "mayor" he throws out the opening pitch, then takes a bribe from the catcher, who thanks him for supporting "hookers and booze." "You do something controversial, you say something controversial, it will have an impact on this team. So remember, be mindful of your actions," Reynolds says, wearing only a towel before joining three topless blonds for a group hug in a strip club's dressing room. "What you do is not only a reflection of yourself. It's a reflection of the San Francisco 49ers."
Mayor Newsom--shown the tape by the Chronicle--was not amused. His staff will now insist on seeing the content when it grants requests for filming inside City Hall, an aide said. "It wasn't right to do it to the Asian community, particularly the Chinese community. It was wrong to do it to the gay and lesbian community. It was wrong to exploit women as they were exploited in this video," the mayor told Fox affiliate KTVU on Wednesday. "The video is reprehensible." (AP)