The San Francisco 49ers suspended radio color analyst Tim Ryan after he said Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was successful at faking handoffs because of his "dark skin color with a dark football," per Matthias Gafni and Lauren Hernández of the San Francisco Chronicle.
"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 Monday during his weekly appearance on KNBF radio.
"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."
Ryan will be suspended for one game - the 49ers' clash with fellow NFC contender New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
The front-runner for the NFL MVP award, Jackson is on pace to shatter the single-season mark for rushing yards by a QB in part due to his ability to run the zone-read and read-option, which both center around faking a handoff to the running back.
Jackson ran for 101 yards and one touchdown in Baltimore's 20-17 win over the 49ers in Week 13, pushing his season total to 977 yards on the ground with seven rushing scores.
"I regret my choice of words in trying to describe the conditions of the game," said Ryan in a statement to the Chronicle. "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 said they were "disappointed" by Ryan's comments, adding the team has reached out to the Ravens to apologize and "assure them the matter is not being taken lightly."
"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," San Francisco officials said. "We know Tim as a man of high integrity and are confident he will grow and learn from this experience."