49ers cornerback Richard Sherman defended radio analyst Tim Ryan following his comments made about Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson's "dark skin color" on Monday.
Sherman said he didn't interpret Ryan's comments as racist.
"I know Tim personally and I listened to the dialogue and saw it written, and honestly I wasn’t as outraged as everybody else," Sherman said. "I understand how it can be taken under a certain context and be offensive to some, but if you're saying, this is a brown ball, they're wearing dark colors, and he has a brown arm, honestly, sometimes we were having trouble seeing it on film."
"He's making a play fake and sometimes he's swinging his arm real fast and you're like, Does he have the ball? And you look up and [Mark] Ingram is running it. So it was technically a valid point, but you can always phrase things better."
One day after the 49ers' 20–17 loss to the Ravens, Ryan attempted to break down Jackson's performance in his weekly segment on KNBR's "Murph and Mac."
"He's really good at that fake, Lamar Jackson, but when you consider his dark skin color with a dark football with a dark uniform, you could not see that thing," Ryan said on Monday. "I mean you literally could not see when he was in and out of the mesh point and if you're a half step slow on him in terms of your vision forget about it, he's out of the gate."
The 49ers suspended Ryan for one game, and he released a statement saying he regretted his "choice of words."
Defensive end Dee Ford also said he supports Ryan and knows the radio analyst didn't many to offend anyone.
"The words kind of got taken out of context. I think he knows now he could have used better judgment with his words, but we've got his back. I knew what he was trying to say. This era we live in, it's just what it is."
The 49ers announced on Thursday that Dennis Brown will replace Ryan during Sunday's broadcast of San Francisco's matchup against the Saints. Brown works as a host on KNBR's pre- and post-game shows.