49ers condemn racist messages sent to Cardinals' Budda Baker after George Kittle’s injury ahead of game against Jets
The team also made an announcement they would start investigating to find out the identity of the fan
The Arizona Cardinals opened their 2020 season with a 24-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, September 13 and one of the talking points was Cardinals' safety Budda Bakers's clean tackle on George Kittle in the first half of the game. This saw Kittle limp off leaving his availability for Week 2 in doubt. While the 49ers didn't throw the blame on Baker, one of the fans took to Instagram with a string of racial slurs.
The 24-year-old took to Twitter to share screenshots of the messages he received. This led to the 49ers who publicly condemned the person responsible for the messages and also made an announcement they would start investigating to find out the identity of the fan. Cardinals safety Baker made a clean tackle on 49ers tight end Kittle late in the first half of Sunday’s game. Injuries happen and Kittle limped off with a knee sprain that didn’t keep him out of the second half but leaves his availability for this week in question. Baker also wrote, "I'm all good with opposing fans talking trash but this right here man. All you can do is pray for people like this."
Im all good with opposing fans talking trash. But This right here man... All you can do is pray for ppl like this. pic.twitter.com/Hybq1RmfEd— Budda Baker (@buddabaker32) September 14, 2020
On Tuesday, September 15 noon, the 49ers issued a statement that read: "The San Francisco 49ers unequivocally denounce the racist messages sent to Budda Baker. The individual who sent the messages does not represent the 49ers or the Faithful. Per team policy, we are working to identify this person and will ban them from all 49ers games and events. Incidents like this demonstrate how much work remains to be done to address racism and hate in our society. We remain steadfast in our commitment to that work."
According to ESPN, even Kittle defended Baker by posting an image of him and the safety saying, "Nothing but respect 32 [Baker's jersey number]! See you down the road," to which there was a reply from Baker: "Always Respect Bro." Ahead of the game, Kittle was also lavish in praise of Baker saying the duo had mutual respect for each other.
"We have mutual respect for each other," Kittle said. "Budda is a hell of a football player. ... I love watching Budda play. He's a monster. He's all over the field. ... We compete at a very high level, we have a lot of intensity, and we both love the game of football. What more do you want in a matchup?"
49ers CEO, Jed York took to Twitter to urge teams to take note of the unchecked racism that's still prevalent. "Sadly, these incidents occur far too often. Permitting these individuals to go unchecked allows racism and hate to spread. I urge other teams in the world of sport to consider our policy of banning those who seek to tear others down with racial slurs and threats of violence," he wrote.
The 49ers will take on the New York Jets at the MetLife Stadium East Rutherford, NJ on Sunday. The game can be watched live on Fox and the live commentary of the scrimmage can be heard NFL Game Pass, Westwood One, and Sirius XM.