49ers

York steers 49ers into new era

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York steers 49ers into new era

Programming Note: Jed York will be in studio for Chronicle Live today, along with Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett, tennis legend John McEnroe and former U.S. Open champ Andy Roddick. Join us at 5 p.m.

Jed York will be on Chronicle Live today, which makes one wonder what other wonderful developments are in store for the show. Gold coins stacked on the sets coffee table? The sound of harps augmenting Kozs voice? A foot massage for producer Adam Littlefield?

Because good things seem to happen when York is around. Young Jed is on a pretty amazing 13 month run, beginning with his hire of Jim Harbaugh in January of 2011 (a generous soul could stretch out his run of good fortune to 14 months, starting with the firing of Mike Singletary but were not going to give him credit for facing the inevitable, and -- besides -- hes the one who hired Singletary in the first place).

Starting a little more than a year ago, York stuck with 49ers general manager Trent Baalke. He paid Harbaugh what it took. He concentrated on the task of getting a new stadium and let the football guys deal with the football team.

As his uncle Eddie says, Jed was smart enough to mind his own business.

He stepped back and watched the guys he entrusted to do their job actually do their job. Thats harder than it sounds for owners -- especially for young newbie owners. And York was rewarded for his lack of meddling: his team went to the NFC Championship game.

And now more good stuff is happening. Because winning creates stability. Winning creates happiness. People want to help winners.

In the past two weeks, York has shored up his success. He gave Baalke a three-year extension, a deserved contract based on this years success. That means Harbaugh and Baalke can work together through at least 2014. He named Gideon Yu a co-owner -- Yu is believed to own once percent of the team.

But most importantly, York got 200 million from the NFL, approved a few days before the Super Bowl. And with that money secured, Santa Clara officials said they plan to break ground this summer and have the stadium ready for the 2014 season.

Thats real. Thats soon. That means the stadium is past the stage of wishes and dreams and in the ordering a concrete pour stage.

There still will be glitches in the process. The stadium opponents are unhappy about what they see as altered financing from the original deal and want to take legal action. Many of the 49ers long-time fans are miserable, priced out a lousy reward for sticking with the team for the past decade. Franklin Mieulis heirs are suing the Yorks over the worth of the team.

But, right now, it looks, like York is going to get done what his father and his uncle could never achieve -- get the 49ers a brand new stadium.

Which is nothing short of stunning.

On a conference call during the playoffs, York took the right tone. For a guy who has plenty to boast about, he took a humble, thankful approach. He didnt inherit the tin ear that plagues other family members.

And hes done some other noteworthy less-flashy stuff, like righting past wrongs. Rather than running from the teams past success York has embraced it, bringing in former greats, including his uncle. Their regular contact has mended one of the uglier rifts in sports ownership.

Its been a hell of a run, and quite a transformation for an organization that was widely viewed as inept just two years to one now firmly back among the contenders.

The one thing York couldnt seem to accomplish was getting his uncle into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Give him time. The guy needs to have something left on his to-do list.

Freelance writer Ann Killion is a regular contributor to CSNBayArea.com and Chronicle Live.

Large group of Colin Kaepernick supporters demonstrate outside NFL offices

Large group of Colin Kaepernick supporters demonstrate outside NFL offices

NEW YORK -- Supporters of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who refused to stand for the national anthem to protest police brutality against blacks, showed their solidarity with him and his cause at a rally outside the headquarters of the National Football League on Wednesday.

More than 1,000 people, many wearing jerseys bearing Kaepernick's name, crowded the steps outside the NFL's midtown Manhattan offices.

Kaepernick, who once took the 49ers to the Super Bowl, opted out of his contract with the team in March and remains unsigned. Supporters say he is being blackballed for his advocacy, but some critics say he should not have sat or kneeled during the anthem or contend his lack of a job is more about his on-field talent.

Chants at the demonstration included "Boycott! Boycott!" Women's March organizer Tamika Mallory, addressing football fans, said, "I don't care how long you've been watching football, if they don't stand up for your children, turn the damn TV off."

Political commentator Symone Sanders said, "We are all standing with Kaepernick. It is time for the NFL to put up or shut up."

Earlier Wednesday, the NAACP called for a meeting with the NFL to discuss the fate of Kaepernick, who was born to a white woman and a black man but was adopted by a white couple. The civil rights organization's interim president, Derrick Johnson, said in a letter to the NFL's commissioner, Roger Goodell, that it's apparently "no sheer coincidence" that Kaepernick isn't on a roster.

"No player should be victimized and discriminated against because of his exercise of free speech - to do so is in violation of his rights under the Constitution and the NFL's own regulations," Johnson said.

The NAACP's state president in New York, Hazel Dukes, said: "Right now, the action of the league seems to imply to young black men that this league, which is comprised of 70 percent African-Americans, only values black lives if they are wearing a football uniform."

Goodell has said the league isn't blackballing Kaepernick.

Some other players followed Kaepernick's actions last season, and some are doing so in this year's pre-season. On Monday, a group of Cleveland Browns players prayed in silent protest during the national anthem. Among those kneeling was a white player, Seth DeValve. Another white player, Britton Colquitt, did not kneel but kept his hand on the shoulder of a teammate who did.

That protest earned the ire of an Ohio Supreme Court justice, the lone Democrat holding an Ohio statewide office. Justice Bill O'Neill wrote on Facebook that he wouldn't attend any games at which "draft dodging millionaire athletes disrespect the veterans who earned them the right to be on that field."

"Shame on you all," he said.

49ers activate Jimmie Ward

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AP

49ers activate Jimmie Ward

SANTA CLARA -- Safety Jimmie Ward was cleared Wednesday morning to begin practicing with his teammates after missing nearly four weeks of training camp with a hamstring injury.

Ward underwent conditioning tests on Monday and Tuesday to complete the final hurdles before the club activated him off the physically unable to perform list.

Ward sustained a hamstring injury during the conditioning test on the eve of training camp.

Ward was moved to cornerback last season, where he started 10 games.

He finished the season on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. He was the 49ers' primary nickel back in his first two NFL seasons.

Jaquiski Tartt originally took over at free safety at the beginning of camp. But after Tartt missed significant practice time with a ribs injury, undrafted rookie Lorenzo Jerome stepped in.

Jerome started the 49ers’ first two exhibition games at free safety.