Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is having a stellar season so far, and on Sunday in the Ravens’ win against the San Francisco 49ers, he rushed for 101 yards on 16 carries and scored a touchdown.
He also threw for 105 yards with one touchdown, and considering his keen eye plus his amazing running ability, some could compare him to the retired quarterback Michael Vick.
But according to Tim Ryan, a Bay Area radio analyst for the 49ers, Jackson’s success is related to an advantage he has: His skin color.
On Monday, during an interview on San Francisco’s KNBR’s “Murph & Mac” show, Ryan talked about the Ravens’ 20-17 victory over the 49ers, as well as Jackson’s fake handoffs to the running back.
“He’s really good at that fake, Lamar Jackson,” said Ryan during the broadcast. “But when you consider his dark skin color with a dark football with a dark uniform, you could not see that thing. I mean you literally could not see when he was in and out of the mesh point.”
The 49ers released a statement on Wednesday and said they suspended Ryan for his comments, which means he won’t be allowed to broadcast Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.
“We are disappointed in Tim Ryan’s comments earlier this week and have suspended him for the upcoming game,” the statement read.
“We hold Tim to a high standard as a representative of our organization, and he must be more thoughtful with his words. Tim has expressed remorse in a public statement and has also done so with us privately,” the statement continued. “We know Tim as a man of high integrity and are confident he will grow and learn from this experience.”
Ryan issued his apology on Wednesday, according to ESPN. And he’ll be replaced by former 49ers defensive lineman Dennis Brown for Sunday’s broadcast.
“I regret my choice of words in trying to describe the conditions of the game,” said Ryan. “Lamar Jackson is an MVP-caliber player and I respect him greatly. I want to sincerely apologize to him and anyone else I offended.”
The 49ers also contacted the Ravens to apologize, which was confirmed by a Ravens team official. So far, Jackson has kept quiet about all of this.
“The 49ers reached out to us earlier today and explained what happened,” said the Ravens rep. “Someone from the team called to ‘extend our apologies’ and assure them the matter is not being taken lightly.”
At this writing the Ravens stand at 10-2, which puts them in first place in the AFC North. On Sunday, they’ll face the Buffalo Bills, who have a record of 9-3 and are in second place in the AFC East, behind the 10-2 New England Patriots.