The San Francisco 49ers are trying to identify the fan who sent profanely racist messages to a player from a rival team in an effort to ban the person from games and events.
The team responded Tuesday to racist messages sent to Arizona Cardinals safety Bishard “Budda” Baker, which Baker posted to his social media accounts Monday. In what appeared to be private messages on Instagram, a user identified only as “niners8” called Baker a “monkey ass n—–” and a “slave.”
“Im all good with opposing fans talking trash,” Baker wrote on Twitter with screenshots of the messages. “But This right here man… All you can do is pray for ppl like this.”
NBC News was unable to find the Instagram account Tuesday.
Baker played with the Cardinals against the 49ers on Sunday in the NFL’s opening week, delivering a notable tackle against 49ers tight end George Kittle. The Cardinals won, 24-20.
The 49ers said the anonymous fan did not represent the team or The Faithful, the moniker given to San Francisco fans. The team said it was working to identify the person who sent the messages to ban the person from events.
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“Incidents like this demonstrate how much work remains to be done to address racism and hate in our society,” the 49ers’ statement said. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to that work.”
The NFL has struggled to meaningfully address racism and racial injustice, despite public gestures to support social causes. When its season began Thursday in Kansas City, Missouri, the field at Arrowhead Stadium read “End Racism.”
Kansas City Chiefs fans stood together as, through a video feed, Alicia Keys sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a poem set to music that has often been referred to as the “Black national anthem.” The opposing team, the Houston Texans, remained in the locker room.
After the Texans returned to the field, Chiefs fans booed players as both teams locked arms during a moment of silence “dedicated to the ongoing fight for equality.” The gesture was seen as a show of unity.
The NFL said “Lift Every Voice and Sing” would play at all Week 1 games in a nod to racial injustice, but critics have called it a meaningless gesture.
Several Miami Dolphins players, including veteran defensive back Bobby McCain and linebacker Elandon Roberts, released a video Thursday that said they would stay inside for the “publicity parade,” calling the decision to play the song a “way to save face.”
“If you speak up for change, I’ll shut up and play,” McCain said in the video, which was obtained by ESPN.
Dolphins coach Brian Flores appeared at the end of the video in a T-shirt that read “Vote” across his chest.
“Before the media starts wondering and guessing, they just answered all your questions,” Flores said. “We’ll just stay inside.”
Other teams also chose to stay inside at subsequent games during the rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the national anthem or both, including the Jacksonville Jaguars, the New York Jets and the Green Bay Packers.