The 49ers’ Kyle Williams endured a hellish performance in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, but the real nightmare for the second-year player may just be starting.
Williams, the backup punt returner who fumbled two crucial plays late in the 49ers’ overtime loss to the New York Giants, has been the subject of withering criticism on the Internet, including death threats posted on Twitter.
Williams’ father, Kenny, the general manager of the Chicago White Sox, said in an interview with ESPN that his son has received death threats and NFL security is addressing the issues. Calls to the NFL from The SF Examiner for comment were not returned Monday.
Because Williams hasn’t filed any reports, the San Francisco Police Department is not investigating the threats, said spokesman Sgt. Michael Andraychak. If Williams does elect to file a report with the SFPD, the department would assign an inspector. Andraychak said when threats come from the Internet, however, it’s difficult to determine what jurisdiction should carry out the investigation.
Williams’ two fumbles led to 10 points for the Giants, including the game-winning field goal in a 20-17 overtime game at Candlestick Park. While some fans reacted bitterly to the miscues, Williams’ teammates and other backers expressed solidarity with the wide receiver, who was only assuming punt return duties because Ted Ginn Jr. was injured.
“Some of the stuff that I’ve read and some of the things that I’ve seen, man, it was just like ‘Wow,’” said the 49ers’ All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis. “You never want anyone to have to go through anything like that. It’s just unfortunate that it happened to a player like him.”
In a news conference Monday, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said he wasn’t surprised the team has stood by Williams.
“This is a class bunch of guys, a class group, a class team,” Harbaugh said. “They’ve never been a finger-pointing group.”
In an interview with “CSN Bay Area” on Monday, Williams said he hasn’t paid any attention to the vitriol posted on Twitter.
“All I needed was feedback from family and friends and guys in this locker room,” Williams said. “That was really all I needed because that’s all that matters, when it comes down to it, was the guys who were wearing the same jersey as me and the family and friends who were close by.”
Love and hate for 49er
@JedYork (the 49ers owner): “Keep your head up, @KyleWilliams_10. We win and lose as a team. With Class.”
@Shewenttojareds: “If your saying threats about Kyle Williams, take your niner jersey off, and stop calling yourself a true fan to the team, because you arent.”
@javpasquel: “I hope you, youre wife, kids and family die, you deserve it.”
@KillaKlips: “you should jump off the Golden Gate Bridge for that one.”
@Markymeagain: “HOPE U RUN n2 A BULLET DA WAY U RAN INTO DAT BALL.”