Last time I had the temerity to suggest someone associated with the 49ers might be less than perfect, the Faithful came after me hard.
The suggestion I made was that coach Jim Harbaugh might need to dial back the I’m-Barry-Bonds-and-you’re-not attitude. The general suggestion I received in response was that I might need to defy nature and attempt procreation with myself.
The message that came through loud and clear with said suggestion, however crudely conveyed, is that winning is all that really matters. Sure, we’d love our sports gods to be great people and all, but if they aren’t and the winning percentage works, whatever. We forgive many sins in the wake of wins.
It’ll be interesting to see how much forgiveness Vernon Davis gets from the Faithful, though. He’s helped win a ton of games, sure, but the phenomenally selfish act he’s been pulling for quite some time now can’t be going over very well.
Whatever issues Harbaugh might have as the result of the outsized ego that we all know is needed to succeed at the proverbial “highest level,” Davis makes them look like pudding cups at recess.
We’re told Vernon is an artist of sorts. Well, if self-absorption were an art, Davis would be Picasso, a master who traffics in colorful chaos that’s open to a wide range of interpretations.
He’s fond of two things right now: His brand and putting on a show. They go hand in hand when done well. When done the Davis way, they work against each other.
Right now, in the aftermath of his “All Me All The Time” Tour, his brand might as well be Enron, circa 2001. He’s a ridiculously well-paid liar. Nice brand.
Oh, sorry, is “liar” a little too harsh for you? Come on. The guy earned it, fair and square.
During his unintentionally comical radio appearance on 95.7 The Game (KGMZ) last week, he told the audience that he’d be at camp this week. Then he no-showed Monday. What else you want to call that? An inaccurate forecast?
No. The guy lied. Knowingly. That makes him, among many other things, and very few of them flattering, a liar.
Even Harbaugh, who typically defends his players with a ferocity that borders on imbalanced, couldn’t quite stomach the crap Davis is shoveling. He expressed a fatherly disappointment in his star tight end’s decision, which Harbaugh characterized as out of sync with “the 49er way.”
Left unexplained was exactly what “the 49er way” really is, but it’s safe to assume that Harbaugh sees it as having to do with being — pet phrase alert — beyond reproach. You know, like Joe, Jerry, Steve, Ronnie and Bill Walsh. Good guys who made great football. And the fact is, notwithstanding an Eddie D scandal here, some Chris Culliver homophobia there, and Aldon Smith drinking and driving seemingly everywhere, the 49ers do, indeed, have a pretty remarkable record of general goodness.
Davis, however, has a pretty remarkable record of petulance, and it’s growing by the day. It’d be one thing if he were relatively underpaid, as is fellow holdout Alex Boone. But he’s not. He’s handsomely paid. But because the current contract at which he’s thumbing his nose was severely front-loaded, he wants us to believe, based on his salary for this year and next, that he’s being cheated.
In short, he’s making the same mistake that a lot of fairly intelligent people make. He’s assuming everyone else is dumb. Forget about your brand, Vernon. You’ve shot it all to hell. Get back to work and hope that the Faithful still have that capacity to forgive.
Mychael Urban, a longtime Bay Area-based sportswriter and broadcaster, is the host of “Inside the Bigs,” which airs every Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon on KGMZ “The Game” (95.7 FM). Jim HarbaughMychael UrbanSan Francisco 49ersVernon Davis