The 49ers implored their social-media followers to wear a mask in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus, trolling the New Orleans Saints in the process.
A near-identical tweet and Instagram post shared the following sentence that will be hard to swallow in the Big Easy: "Be a saint, grab a face mask." Both posts featured video of 49ers tight end George Kittle's monster reception from their 48-45 win over the Saints in December. Kittle gained 39 yards to set up the winning field goal despite Saints safety Marcus Williams holding on to the 49er's facemask.
Research shows that wearing masks can prevent the spread of respiratory droplets carrying the virus that causes COVID-19, and cities and states nationwide have mandated mask-wearing in public in an effort to contain the coronavirus pandemic. California became the 11th state -- and the first on the west coast -- to do so last month. Santa Clara County, where the 49ers call home, issued an order Thursday mandating all businesses require customers and employees to wear masks. The order could go into effect as soon as July 13.
A 49ers player reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus last month while players worked out in Nashville. The 49ers released a statement soon after saying they were barred "from commenting on the personal health of our employees" under state and federal law. A group of 49ers players led by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had previously worked out at San Jose State, and The Athletic's Matt Barrows wrote Wednesday that there were "very few masks [and] no social distancing" during the sessions he watched. Dr. Sara Coady, the Santa Clara County public health officer, will soon issue "mandatory directives" designed to reduce risk in gyms and athletic activities, among other industries and sectors.
The 49ers are scheduled to once again play the Saints in New Orleans this season. Last year's loss surely would've been on the Saints' minds anyway, but the 49ers' posts Thursday ensured few will forget Kittle's heroics before then.
[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]