Beil's Spiel: A disastrous fumble

It was racially insensitive, sexually offensive and just plain dumb, a triple option of stupidity performed by the San Francisco 49ers. If only their on-field offense could be this offensive.

As if posting a 2-14 record and becoming the laughingstock of the NFL wasn't embarrassing enough, the 49ers managed to completely incinerate the last vestiges of their glorious past this week.

Clips from the team's media training video popped up in the news, sending the Niners into a backpedal that would make Deion Sanders proud. The video contained a spoof of a Chinese guy telling bad jokes in broken English, a lesbian wedding scene with one woman yelling "Go Niners" as her partner went into makeout mode, and topless strippers promising "a happy ending" for the video's star, public relations director Kirk Reynolds.

The only thing missing was the team's owner John York stuffing dollar bills into a G-string. Maybe they're saving that for the sequel.

The video scandal is the latest bit of choppy water for the S.S. York, a journey that makes the Titanic look like a pleasure cruise. While York probably is tucked away in a Saddam-like bunker, sucking down oxygen from a straw, he did issue a statement saying the video was inappropriate, tasteless and inexcusable.

Not mentioned is the fact that the tape was made and shown to 49ers players last August, or that the tape sat on York's desk for months and nobody seemed to care until video of the strippers started bouncing around on TV.

Even more comical than York's response was the statement put out by the NFL, saying, "We applaud 49ers' owner John and Denise York for their strong public criticism of the media training video." Why don't we all take a moment to applaud the Yorks now. While we're at it, how about an award for best cinematography?

So much went wrong with this video that it's hard to know where to begin. The premise was that Reynolds was the mayor of San Francisco for a day, warning players about potential trouble to avoid. "What you do and say is not just a reflection on yourself – it's a reflection on the San Francisco 49ers," proclaimed "Mayor Reynolds."

The video was shot at San Francisco City Hall and it took unmitigated gall to request the use of real Mayor Gavin Newsom's office as a set for this production.

"This is an embarrassment," Newsom said after seeing the video for the first time. "It's a disgrace, totally reprehensible."

This should make for some fun conversations when York sits down with Newsom to discuss construction of a new stadium for the 49ers. "Gavin – here's the pitch for our new stadium. We've hired Kayla Kupcakes to handle fund-raising."

Common sense seemed to go out the window in the video production process. Right around the time they were on the phone lining up the strippers, you'd think somebody might have said that maybe this isn't such a great idea.

Actually, it did seem like a great idea to many of the 49ers players, who had become bored with the annual sermon to watch what they say to the media. "It wasn't meant to harm anybody or be any kind of negative message at all," said 49ers linebacker Julian Peterson, who had a cameo role in the video. "It was supposed to be an in-house thing."

Peterson and safety Tony Parrish noted the humor was similar to what comedian Dave Chappelle does on TV every week. True, but unlike this video, Chappelle is actually funny and clever.

Up until a few days ago, Reynolds was regarded as one of the better public relations directors in the NFL. The video may be career suicide for him.

"I used poor judgment – there's no question about it," said Reynolds, who has resigned. "The things I told [the players] not to do, I did, and I feel awful about it."

In the wake of the scandal, the 49ers have vowed to overhaul their diversity training program.

I can't wait to see the video.