People tend to stick to what they’re good at, in life. The 49ers, are not very good at football. However, they’re quite good at political activism. Therefore, since winning football games isn’t something that’s going to happen for them, the 9ers are now trying to convince their fans that they should focus on other things.
According to Ray Ratto of NBC Sports Bay Area, on a recent questionnaire the 49ers asked their fans: “How important is winning to your stadium experience?”
The 49ers are 0-7 this year, and their pics of their stadium frequently appear in every story about empty seats at NFL stadiums. So, considering those two factors, one would think it matters a lot. However, the real stunner here is the question, not whatever the answer might be.
What happened to the implied sports social contract, where a team felt a responsibility to provide a paying customer with an all-consuming effort to try and win the game? Moreover, if the team has to ask their fans whether they care about winning, doesn’t that necessarily imply that they don’t? Or are at the very least noncommittal about winning and perhaps interested in other things? If the 49ers were consumed by a relentless desire to win, as we’re told all NFL teams are, then why would they ever feel the need to ask anyone how much they care about winning?
That is, unless the 49ers no longer care about winning. Let’s look at some things we know the 49ers definitely do care about.
In recent weeks, the 49ers have had more total players protest than any other team in the league. The team owner, Jed York, was front-and-center at the league social justice meetings in New York. The 49ers recently pledged $500,000 to advance gun control measures, and, let’s not forget, the pervasive anthem protests which swept over the league originated in, San Francisco.
In other words, there’s very little evidence to suggest that the 49ers care about anything other than social activism. Or, if that’s too much to say, at the very least there’s nothing to suggest that they’ve been effective at anything other than social activism. So, why not try to change the grading scale? If you can’t succeed at one thing, try to distract by doing another. Businesses do it every day, the 49ers are doing it with social activism.
None of this is to say that the 49ers plan on going winless forever. They’re not paying Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch millions of dollars to figure out how to lose. After all, the team had already figured that one out on their own.
But what it does mean, in this current social justice environment, is that we may soon arrive at a point where sports teams will want to be judged for how much they “care,” as opposed to how well they do their jobs.
We may not have arrived there yet, and this warning, admittedly, might be ahead of its time. But the “Woke Bowl” is coming, be prepared.