New Orleans Saints

49ers troll Saints with George Kittle video in coronavirus mask PSA

49ers troll Saints with George Kittle video in coronavirus mask PSA

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.

[RELATED: 49ers-Raiders game remains after NFL preseason reportedly halved]

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]

Trayvon Mullen has Drew Brees, Saints on bulletin board after comments

Trayvon Mullen has Drew Brees, Saints on bulletin board after comments

The New Orleans Saints' visit to Las Vegas on September 21 already was set to be a marquee game in the NFL with the Raiders set to debut Allegiant Stadium for the first time on "Monday Night Football."

The matchup with Drew Brees got another layer Wednesday after the Saints quarterback said he still saw players who kneel during the national anthem to protest police violence as "disrespecting the flag." Brees' comments came while millions of citizens across the country protest police brutality in the wake of George Floyd's death in police custody. Brees posted a photo on Instagram supporting the Black Lives Matter movement Tuesday and then promptly showed he still didn't understand why former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started taking a knee during the national anthem back in 2016.

As Brees' comments circulated, Raiders cornerback Trayvon Mullen made it known he's looking forward to facing Brees now more than ever with offensive tackle Trent Brown echoing the feeling.

Brees offered an apology for his "insensitive" comments Thursday saying he "missed the mark." While some have accepted Brees' apology, many around the NFL and sports world saw it as an apology for being dragged mercilessly on Twitter and television and not for his actual statement.

The conversation around Kaepernick's protest and taking a knee during the anthem has been reignited after Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, died in police custody after Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. A video showed Floyd telling Chauvin and three other officers who were watching that he couldn't breathe and asking for Chauvin to let up. It was later announced Floyd had died in police custody. Chauvin was arrested and has been charged with second-degree murder, third-degree muder and second-degree manslaughter. The three other officers were arrested Wednesday and have been charged with aiding and abetting in both cases.

Kaepernick started taking a knee during the national anthem in 2016 as a way to protest police brutality and systemic racism. He chose to take a knee in protest after a discussion with Nate Boyer, a former Green Beret, because he wanted to make sure he was protesting in a respectful manner. Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since 2016.

Citizens have marched in protests in cities across American since Floyd's death, looking to put an end to police brutality and systemic racism. A number of NFL players have spoken out since Floyd's death, with Raiders quarterback Derek Carr vowing to no longer stick to sports as he tries to unite people.

[RELATED: Littleton, Kwiatkoski vital to Raiders' defensive renaissance]

Brees' comments drew warranted criticism from across the sports world, with fans, peers and teammates all chiming in to tell Brees how wrong he was on the issue of kneeling in protest during the national anthem.

The Raiders need to get off to a fast start in order to breathe life into a push for the playoffs. Brees has owned the Raiders in his career, but the Silver and Black added a lot of talent to a defense that ranked 31st in DVOA last year. A defense that will be led by a rising star corner in Mullen, who has this game circled.

[RAIDERS TALK: Listen to the latest episode]
 

Jerick McKinnon reacts to Drew Brees' apology with middle finger emoji

Jerick McKinnon reacts to Drew Brees' apology with middle finger emoji

An apology one day later wasn't enough in Jerick McKinnon's eyes. When Saints quarterback Drew Brees tried to right a wrong Thursday morning for his "insensitive" comments regarding peacefully protesting by kneeling during the national anthem, the 49ers running back made his thoughts quite clear. 

Yeah, he wasn't having it. 

Fellow 49ers teammate Richard Sherman said Brees is "beyond lost" on Wednesday, and former 49ers defensive tackle Ian Williams, who now works for NBC Sports Bay Area, was "sickened" by Brees' words

Even Brees' teammates spoke up. Star receiver Michael Thomas made his thoughts loud and clear on Twitter and safety Malcolm Jenkins posted an impassioned video where he even tells his QB to "shut the f--k up" at one point.

Cal alum and Saints star defensive end Cam Jordan called Brees yesterday after hearing his words. 

[RELATED: Poole: Brees reveals that he's part of problem, not solution]

"I feel like I gave him my perspective -- it was almost like I was trying to force him to walk a mile in my shoes -- and I hope it gets through," Jordan told NFL.com Wednesday night. "I hope it gets through to my guy Drew, because that's what he is ... he's been my guy since I entered the league (in 2011).

"He's been the leader and a guy I can rely on -- on the field. Well, off the field has to align. I can't allow people to tippy-toe on the line of this issue. You can't play both sides on this one. We're fighting to end social injustice, and you're either with us or you aren't."

McKinnon's response was a strong one, no doubt. He also likely won't be the last player to be blunt with his feelings regarding Brees' comments.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]