It was inevitable after San Francisco 49ers inside linebacker Chris Borland announced his retirement late yesterday that not everyone would be on the same page. The NFL is a multi-billion dollar business, and those whose income depends on the league’s continued success are not going to back down and let their sport go the way of Roman Colosseum animal fighting.
Tim Ryan, who up until this point had been the less controversial half of the San Francisco 49ers radio duo, went on KNBR’s “Murph and Mac” show this morning and didn’t mince words about Borland’s decision.
Tim Ryan said “Patrick Willis retired. Chris Borland quit.”
— Ann Killion (@annkillion) March 17, 2015
Tim Ryan: “This isn’t punitive on Chris – I loved to watch him play – but Patrick Willis retired. Chris Borland quit.”
— LOLKNBR (@LOLKNBR) March 17, 2015
Tim Ryan is also using the term “go out on your shield” about leaving football. That kind of stuff needs to stop. — Ann Killion (@annkillion) March 17, 2015
Tim Ryan: “Sorry, guys. I’m not green today, I’m blue.” — LOLKNBR (@LOLKNBR) March 17, 2015
As one would probably expect, people aren’t necessarily in agreement on Ryan’s comments.
@pcon34 I thought those comments were idiotic and I’m going to go ahead and cover the Giants today. That ok?
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) March 17, 2015
For the record, I agree with Pavlovic. Borland doesn’t owe “The Shield” anything, and any player who considers the dangers of playing professional football and decides it isn’t for him has the right to make that decision WITHOUT people questioning his toughness, desire, or motives. It’s not like Borland stole a ton of money from the 49ers and bailed, either — he was on a rookie deal and played his ass off before he was placed on Injured Reserve. And to demean Borland because he didn’t have the career of Patrick Willis is shortsighted and more than a little selfish. (“Oh no, the team that employs me is probably going to suck this year — will someone think of the front office and announcers?!?!”)
I can hear the complaint already: Wait, doesn’t Ryan have a right to his opinion? Absolutely, and we all have a right to react to his stance as we see fit. I disagree 100% with Ryan when he says Borland quit. 49ers defensive tackle Mike Purcell probably woudn’t side with Ryan — he said using the “q-word” amounts to disrespecting Borland’s decision.
On another, more cynical note, we haven’t even heard whether the 49ers are going to go after three-quarters of Borland’s $617,436 signing bonus yet (it sounds like they will).