Hammer: The rest of the story

Michael Crabtree probably would have signed at some point before Nov. 17, the deadline for a rookie to get a deal done and be eligible to play this season. But one person in particular is responsible for the timing of his contract agreement with the 49ers.


This week, the 49ers and Crabtree synchronized their watches to Hammertime.


Stanley Burrell – best known by stage names MC Hammer or, simply, Hammer – spoke with 49ers president Jed York during a function Saturday, Sept. 19, to honor Eddie DeBartolo as the first inductee into the 49ers Hall of Fame.


During that engagement, Hammer asked York if he would be open to getting together for a face-to-face meeting with Crabtree and his agent, Eugene Parker.


“We have a mutual friend who introduced us,” York told me today. “Hammer has a good relationship with Deion Sanders. Eugene (Parker) was his agent. And he (Hammer) has a good relationship with Eugene. And I think it was a good conduit to get everybody together.”


Hammer did not take part in the negotiations, but he was on hand at a Palo Alto luxury hotel, where the ice-breaking meeting took place. Hammer walked out with York, then helped him escape questioning by yours truly.


York said he avoided speaking to me in the hotel lobby because he said he wanted give 49ers chief negotiator Paraag Marathe and Parker plenty of time to work out the details of Crabtree’s contract without any negotiations “through the media.”


Hammer assisted in the getaway by taking York‘s valet ticket to the door man, and instructing him to pick up York at the side of the hotel.


Later, Hammer also helped Crabtree complete an end-around departure from the hotel to elude myself and Comcast Sportsnet’s Mindi Bach, the only other reporter on the scene.


Hammer unquestionably deserves a lot of credit for the timing of the agreement, but York said it was Crabtree who made it happen because of his eagerness to play for the 49ers. (I tried to ask Crabtree about Hammer’s involvement as he was stepping down from the podium after his press conference, but the only reaction I got was a smile and a laugh.)


***UPDATE: Crabtree quipped softly enough for only the closest media member (SF Illustrated’s Craig Massei) to hear, “He helped with my dance steps.” ***


“I think Michael expedited the process because he wants to play football,” York said. “I think this was an easy way for neither side to look like they were giving up leverage and have someone kind of broker the meeting. Michael wants to play. He wants to be a 49er. And that was apparent, sitting down and talking to him.”


In my brief encounter with Hammer, I found him to be good-natured and easy with a laugh – and we did share a hearty laugh about the situation. Honestly, I thought he looked like Hammer, but I did not confirm his identity until moments after he left the hotel property in an immaculate orange Dodge Charger.


Today, he acknowledged his involvement in the happenings on his Twitter page: “To all the Niner Fans and fans of the Bay Area and Bay Area Sports …you’re Welcome. :)”


I wish to thank him, too, for helping make Tuesday such a memorable day.


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