Fans and analysts alike questioned the 49ers front office and its decision to take Nick Bosa with the no. 2 overall pick in April's NFL draft. Any criticism thrown their way had nothing to do with Bosa's ability to perform on the field; it had everything to do with his controversial social media activity and explicit right-wing, pro-Trump views. Many wondered how the highly-touted edge rusher from Ohio State University would fit into the Niner locker room and the Bay Area, in general.
Outside the Bay Area, there are those who firmly believe that talent and on-field play can overcome political and philosophical differences. Those who are members of that camp look at the decision by coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch to select Bosa as a "no brainer." In short, rushing the quarterback is the most coveted ability in the league, in 2019, outside of a quarterback's ability to throw the football. If Nick can adequately pressure and sack opposing signal-callers, as advertised, then all of the noise surrounding their first-round pick should quiet down.
This sentiment was echoed by one of Bosa's high-profile African-American teammates, cornerback Richard Sherman, speaking to the Sacramento Bee at an event on Monday:
"'One thing about football is that nobody really cares what you say if you can play,' Sherman told The Sacramento Bee on Monday. 'At the end of the day, I think a guy that has played with African Americans his whole life, not saying he can't be racist, but they know how to maneuver around African Americans.'"
Sherman continued, further offering his thoughts on Bosa as a teammate and part of a locker room with African-American team members.
"'When you’re at Ohio State, it’s not like Ohio State’s an all-white school. So I don’t think that’s going to ever be an issue,' Sherman said. 'I think, at the end of the day, your beliefs are your beliefs … but when you’re in the building and you’re a football player and you’re a teammate, you handle yourself accordingly. And I think he understands that.'"
What has been clear from the get-go is that the San Francisco 49ers organization has been behind Nick Bosa and their own decision to draft the young man. GM John Lynch reportedly "specifically asked Bosa about his social media posts, including 'liking' one that contained homophobic and racist hashtags. But the organization, based on its research, felt comfortable with Bosa as a person because he was liked and respected by his teammates and coaches," according to NFL.com.
If Bosa keeps his head down as far as politics are concerned, and performs on the field as his pedigree suggests he should, then his tenure with the organization should be just fine. As long as his teammates and organization are behind him, his detractors voices won't have much of an impact on him, and fans will appreciate his heart and work ethic.