The San Francisco 49ers’ Foundation recently announced the hiring of Justin Prettyman as Executive Director (via the team’s website). Niners Live goes deep and interpersonal and brings the Faithful: The San Francisco 49ers are re-establishing a Layer of diversity brick–by–brick.
The recap: Class Act, the Red and Gold Standard
The 49ers on July 11, at L.A. Live’s The Novo, were named ESPN Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year for the franchise’s wide-ranging education efforts throughout the community. Prior to 2017, the 49ers were recognized for their commitment to philanthropy in back-to-back years when they were named the 2015 Beyond Sport Team of the Year and in 2014 received the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Steve Patterson Award.
Diversity is part of the new culture
The San Francisco 49ers have been plenty busy this offseason outside of normal player acquisitions, NFL combines/drafts, training camps, coaching changes and front office restructuring. The 49ers have embarked on a journey and a mission to lay a foundation of diversity while building bridges of equal opportunity and at the same time giving back to our young youth and communities.
For the last few years, the 49er Faithful have been used to seeing team reporters Taylor Price and Joe Fann. However, in 2017 with Price leaving to explore new endeavors, there was a spot vacant and some Faithful wonder whom would the 49ers bring on to fill that spot? Well, the 49ers didn’t disappoint. They hired the lovely and highly intelligent Keiana Martin, who is full of personality, has a million dollar smile and who just so happens to be an African American woman.
The 49ers have made headlines lately, not for just the Reuben Fosters‘ and Solomon Thomas’ of the world, but for being an extended beacon and lightening rod for equal opportunities and diversity. The 49ers hired and extended the contract of the teams’ first female assistant intern coach and the NFL’s second female assistant coach ever, Katie Sowers (per NBCSportsBayArea.com).
The 49ers weren’t done, either. As aforementioned, the 49ers recently hired Justin Prettyman, an African American Executive Director who’s bright, well spoken, highly educated, and multi-talented. He will lead and oversee their award winning charity foundation. Prettyman spent the past 11 years, since 2012, with the Boston Red Sox Foundation, serving as the assistant director of marketing and development. Under his leadership, the program won the inaugural Major League Baseball Commissioner’s Award for Philanthropic Excellence in 2009. The Foundation also won the Robert Wood Johnson Award for Best Team Charity in Professional Sports in 2010.
General Manager John Lynch: Brick–By–Brick
Lately, when you say, John Lynch, you think of his catchy phrase, “Brick–By–Brick” and much like the phrase when it comes to laying a new diverse culture, the Buck started with Lynch, no pun attended, of course. Lynch set the tone early in the offseason, but not how the Faithful might think. His moves? Lynch hired and surrounded himself with multiple qualified front office executives who are African American men, such as; his x- teammate Martin Mayhew as Senior Personnel Executive and Ran Carthon as director of pro personnel.
The layer of diversity was laid all the way down to the scouting/grounds level: John Stevenson is in his third season with the 49ers and first, as the team’s regional scout (promotion), Josh Williams is in his seventh season with the 49ers and first as the team’s regional scout (promotion), Salvador Barajas is in his first year with the 49ers as a groundskeeper.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan: Under his watch, “Equal Opportunities”
Coach Shanahan believes in equal opportunity amongst his coaching staff as well as diversity within the depth chart of his new staff. Richard Hightower rejoins the 49ers as the team’s special teams coordinator, Daniel Bullocks enters his first season as the 49ers assistant defensive backs coach, Michael Clay enters his second season with the 49ers and first as a strength and conditioning assistant (promotion), Jon Embree enters his first season as the 49ers assistant head coach/tight ends coach, Johnny Holland enters his first season as the 49ers linebackers coach, DeMeco Ryans is in his first season as 49ers defensive quality control coach, Robert Turner Jr. enters his first season as the 49ers running backs coach, Ray Wright is in his first season with the 49ers as the team’s head strength and conditioning coach and Robert Saleh (SAH-lah) enters his 13th NFL season and first season as the 49ers defensive coordinator. And last, but not least, it was Shanahan who made the call to extend Katie Sowers contract as aforementioned. Sowers served as an intern with the Atlanta Falcons in 2016 while Shanahan was the offensive coordinator, so the two have some history already. Currently, she’s working with the wide receiver groups.
Re-establishing a Layer of Diversity
The 49ers seem like they have made a more conscious effort or commitment to re-establish and lay an equal opportunity/diversity playing field that fosters and promotes a diverse culture for woman, minorities/people of color and of all ages, etc. The 49ers have also been more interpersonal with fans (open practice) and on social media. You have to appreciate and admire the direction of this new look regime and culture that’s being laid in Santa Clara on and off the field. CEO Jed York needs to be given some credit for being part of and instrumental in re-laying a new culture and foundation upon this historic franchise once again.
Please join us again soon on Niners Live, the home of the faithful fan and analyst from an objective/analytical lens, of course.
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All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, Pro Football Focus, 49ers.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author, Content Creator, Editor, Sequoia Sims .