Jed York was interviewed at Levi’s Stadium by Murph and Mac Tuesday morning. Here’s a transcript.
MURPH: First of all, a formal, official, Murph-and-Mac, Levi’s-Stadium, KNBR-Levi’s-Stadium-studio welcome to the 49ers’ CEO who’s already having trouble with his head phones – poor Jed – Jed York, welcome to The Murph and Mac Show.
YORK: It’s like the turf, I guess. I think the same people did the microphones.
MURPH: Look at you, coming out with a little riff. So I’ll start with an easy question, then. How’s the turf?
YORK: It’s good. I think it held up really well for the soccer game. I think we’re ready. I keep getting asked the question about do you do field turf at some point? Our feeling is we like grass, we want to do everything we can to make sure that the grass is here. As you guys remember, Candlestick’s grass wasn’t always ideal. I think we got it to a point over time where the last couple of years it was probably one of the best actual fields in the NFL. And I think we can get it here. And if it doesn’t work, we’re not afraid to change it. But we certainly want to do everything that we can to make sure that we have a natural grass surface.
MAC: One more quick field condition question, because at Candlestick we know a lot of it was just the moisture seeping up from the Bay and that’s what caused it to be damp and chewed up all those years. But how about down here? What was the source of the problem where the field just couldn’t hold up for two games?
YORK: From what we’ve been able to tell it sounds like the sand composition under the field. So, having lighter sand that’s going to be less impact, but it wasn’t gripping as well. Ultimately we need to fix it and make sure that it’s set and make sure that it’s right. I think it’s holding very well and I think the field feels pretty good. But we need to make sure that it’s the best field in the NFL.
MURPH: OK, so now we’ve got to ask you about Ray McDonald and we appreciate you coming on. This is your first public interview since Ray McDonald got arrested, so I will ask you directly: Why have you waited until now to make any statements or do any interviews?
YORK: I think for me first of all, our organization speaks as one voice, so whether it’s Trent, whether it’s Jim, whether it’s me, whether it’s a statement that we put out, we speak with one voice. You can change the words that Jim spoke to you, the words that Trent – and I don’t know if he was on directly with you or just with some of the reporters. Feel free to put my name associated with any of their words that they’ve said. And we’ve had conversations internally. I’ve had conversations with both my wife and my mother about where we are and what we do. And I think it’s very important that we do let due process take its course. I think it’s very important that we don’t judge somebody before whether chargers are filed or whether anything else happens. We want to make sure everyone is afforded the right that I think Americans are afforded.
MURPH: Going to circle back to the question again and say I understand that Jim speaks for you and so does Trent, but I guess some people were looking for, quote, the word “leadership” from the front, front, front office. Jim Harbaugh’s the coach of the team whereas you’re the CEO of the team. If you could do it over again would you be speaking earlier on this to take more leadership on it?
YORK: I think we took leadership as a group and as an organization. I mean it was all of us. Again, whether it was me saying it, whether it was Jim, whether it was Trent, we’re all on the same page so we’re having those conversations, we’re making sure we’re in lockstep. I don’t think you’re going to see me say anything different than what those guys have said.
MURPH: Is it fair to make them speak for you? In some ways I thought it was unfair to put Jim in the crosshairs when you could have come out and just done it.
YORK: I mean, you can feel that. Jim speaks on football matter and football operations. That’s what his, one of his responsibilities is. I mean if you feel like I should have come out, that’s certainly fair for you to feel that. I mean I’m here today and I don’t think it would have changed anything that we’ve done.
MURPH: And thank you for being here.
MAC: So that being said, Jed, not changing anything that’s been done so far and having one unanimous voice represent yourself and the coach and Trent, explain a little bit what led to the decision that Ray McDonald was on the field in Dallas. We’ve been talking about it. A lot of people have been asking about it. What was behind that decision?
YORK: I mean, I know you’re a UCLA guy, and I like quotes. John Wooden talks about character and reputation. And I believe very strongly in that quote that you should care more about your character than your reputation. I’m comfortable if my reputation is going to take shots throughout this process, but my character is I will not punish somebody until we see evidence that it should be done, or before an entire organization and an entire legal police investigation shows us something. And again, if you sit him down or not, whether he’s guilty or not, we’ve said very clearly what our stance is on domestic violence. We’re not changing that and I want to reiterate everything that Jim and Trent have said and what the organization has said. And again, I would much rather walk the line of due process, and I think, again, we’ve said very clearly how we feel about domestic violence, and I would much rather take shots to my reputation, than to put somebody down and to judge them before an entire investigation has taken place.
MURPH: Jed York is the voice you hear, CEO of the 49ers, first public interview since the Ray McDonald arrest and, of course, he’s here mainly to talk about opening night on Sunday and we will. We have Jed for two segments. He’s kind enough to stay for two segments. But in fairness we talked to him earlier, we said we want to ask these questions that a lot of fans want to ask and a lot of listeners and a lot of reporters want to ask, and Jed has graciously agreed to take them on here. So, two extremely prominent figures in your franchise’s history, guys who are in this museum in statue form, Ronnie Lott and Steve Young, have both come out and said you guys should not have played Ray McDonald. Steve Young came through with an argument that I endorsed earlier in the week, which is I understand Ray McDonald might be exonerated, he may not even be charged, but it was my opinion that you guys had reached a boiling point with your team image and your team’s number of arrests. That maybe it was time to take a strong stand to send a message to your fan base and to your locker room that, don’t put yourself in these situations. Don’t be in a situation where we have to even talk about this. And as Steve Young said on Monday Night Football last night, if we have to sit you and pay you, so be it. This is the time to take a stand. How do you answer that argument?
YORK: I mean I think it’s a fair argument. And again, I think I’ve said it clearly, until we can go through an entire process and understand all of the facts and let that play out – again, I would much rather have somebody criticize me for doing that than punishing somebody that might be innocent and put them in a position where we’re presuming guilt before you’ve given them an opportunity to prove their innocence.
MURPH: But if you couched it by saying – sorry to interrupt you – if you couched it by saying we’re not saying you’re guilty, but we are saying it’s time for the 49ers to behave in a certain way and not – because you guys want entertainment dollars. You guys are a business. You want to fill the seats and sell the tickets and have fun. And there are people, you know there are people out there that are turning off of the 49ers because of the quote unquote image. And like you said, it might not be real, but it’s an image. Sometimes is it maybe important to protect that image?
YORK: You know, I think, again, I think as a leader you need to make sure that you’re doing what you feel is the right thing. And it’s not always what’s the most popular thing. And again, I will fall back on if you want to take shots at my reputation and you want to characterize me in this way for taking this stance, I’m comfortable with that. And I realize there might be people that dissent. And I fully acknowledge that and I fully respect that decision, but for me, to look at myself in the mirror and say I’m going to punish somebody, whether it’s not playing them or cutting them or suspending them or whatever that punishment is, before you can go through an entire legal process, an entire investigation, that’s just, that’s not who I am.