Kyle Williams of the San Francisco 49ers has received a lot of abuse via social media sites ever since his punt-return fumble led to a 20-17 overtime loss to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 22. But while he said he’s just ignoring them all, his father is pretty upset that his son has received several death threats.
Williams isn’t hiding though. He said the day after the heartbreaking loss that he’s taking full responsibility for the fumble that led to Lawrence Tynes kicking the winning field goal from 31 yards out. Williams, who was playing in place of the injured Ted Ginn Jr., said he didn’t pay attention to the media sites and was consoled by his teammates, friends and family.
San Francisco fans weren’t quite so forgiving though and Williams was blamed for the loss by many of them and became an instant Internet villain. He said it’s part of his job to take responsibility for his mistakes and said he also blew a third-quarter punt return when the ball bounced up and hit his knee. Williams said that every player is accountable for what they do on the field and he is willing to own up to his gaffes, but it’s time to move on.
His teammate David Akers asked people via Twitter to stop with the abuse the day after the game and said they need to get a grip. He reminded them that football’s a team game and the club win and lose as a team not as individuals. He said nobody points their fingers at anybody in the locker room after a loss. Ackers said Williams is being treated badly as he tried his best for the team, but it just didn’t work out as they had hoped. He added that mistakes happen in sports all the time and every athlete makes them.
Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco’s head coach, said he’s not surprised that his players are all showing their support for Williams. He said the squad is filled with class guys and they aren’t blaming anybody for the loss. Williams said things didn’t work out like ha had planned, but he wanted to make a play to help his teammates reach the Super Bowl. He added that he’d probably do the same thing 10 times out of 10 and he can’t go back and change things now.
Williams’ father Kenny, who’s the general manager of the Chicago White Sox, told ESPN that his son was playing with a possible separated shoulder when he fumbled the ball in overtime. But his son said that had nothing to do with his bad play and Harbaugh said he wasn’t aware of any injury. Kenny Williams said either way, he’s not too happy about the death threats that his son has received. He said he’s been threatened a few times in his career, but it’s pretty hard to accept when your son’s life is being threatened. He added that there’s something wrong with the culture of sports when people react like they have been.