The San Francisco 49ers are looking to ban a fan who sent racist messages to Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker. On Monday, Baker went to Twitter to share screenshots of the messages he received on Instagram from a fan who used racial slurs to harass him. The 49ers issued a statement condemning the fan and said the person will no longer be allowed to attended any games or events.
"The San Francisco 49ers unequivocally denounce the racist messages sent to Budda Baker," the team said. "The individual who sent the messages does not represent the 49ers or the Faithful. Per team policy, we are working to identify this person and will ban them from all 49ers games and events. Incidents like this demonstrate how much work remains to be done to address racism and hate in our society. We remain steadfast in our commitment to that work."
According to Nick Wagoner of ESPN, the fan was angry at Baker because the person blames him for injuring 49ers tight end George Kittle. In the second quarter of Sunday's game between the 49ers and Cardinals, Baker attempted to tackle Kittle at his legs on a ball thrown too high by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The fan believes that Baker targeted Kittle's knees. Kittle, who missed one snap after the play, defended Baker on Instagram by writing: "Nothing but respect 32 [Baker's jersey number]! See you down the road."
"We have a mutual respect for each other," Kittle said last Thursday. "Budda is a hell of a football player. ... I love watching Budda play. He's a monster. He's all over the field. ... We compete at a very high level, we have a lot of intensity, and we both love the game of football. What more do you want in a matchup?"
Both Kittle and Baker entered the NFL in 2017. Kittle was drafted in the fifth round by the 49ers while Baker was selected in the second round by the Cardinals. Additionally, Kittle and Baker just signed big contracts with their teams. Kittle landed a five-year $75 million deal while Baker just earned a four-year, $59 million contract.
"It's definitely an exciting thing for me to be labeled [as the highest-paid safety in league history], to say that," Baker said. "It was a very cool experience and it's a very cool experience right now. Baker also said he's "labeled as this player and now I have to show out and continue to show out each and every week."