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John Lynch breaks down whiplash of Santa Clara County’s decision to boot 49ers

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

When the 49ers found out they were not welcome in their home, Kyle Shanahan said the team was boarding its flight to Los Angeles, and general manager John Lynch had to make an intercom announcement, informing the team of Santa Clara County’s decision to prohibit contact sports through December 21.

Players and coaches felt blindsided by the decision, as did Lynch, who joined KNBR on Thursday.

“Oh yeah. Absolutely we were,” Lynch said.

He made a point to credit the county for discussions leading up to the season, saying he was “grateful for them,” but that the restrictions in the County are “as tough as it gets.”

Lynch said he encourages honesty from his players and staff, as evidenced by the reactions from players and Kyle Shanahan, who was incensed by the county’s decision and not giving the team a prior warning,

“Some of what you heard from our guys, Kyle, and some of our players was just raw emotion.” Lynch said. “We don’t put a muzzle on our guys. We let them kind of speak their mind and we encourage them to do so. That wasn’t anything against the county, it was just, wow, we found out on the bus ride to LA. You understand it’s a big county and people’s lives are at stake. We get that.”

He said he understands the county’s choice, though said the team’s testing protocols are as strict as anywhere in the country.

“There’s a pandemic, people’s lives are at stake,” Lynch said. “We get that.”

Despite that bit of deference to the county, a heads-up would have been appreciated.

“It did catch us off guard,” Lynch said. “Our guys managed to focus, get a big win, and then there was a lot of planning to do.”


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