Kyle Williams Receives Death Threats After Loss

Kyle Williams after fumble.

Abject desperation ravages 49ers Williams after fumble.

Written by: Nick Mingay

SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Kyle Williams received death threats from disgruntled fans this week after his two muffed punts cost the team a win and trip to the Super Bowl.

After the game, many came out in support of Williams, but others used social media sites to send threats of all kinds at the second year receiver.

“I hope you, your wife, kids and family die, you deserve it,” one tweet said on Williams Twitter account.

Williams got near a rolling punt during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game. The ball hit his knee and was recovered by the Giants near the 49ers red zone. The second punt was in overtime, Williams fielded it but proceeded to fumble. It was recovered by the Giants Devin Thomas and from there it was an easy field goal for the Giants.

The 49er family was crushed by the loss, but they stood by Williams after his turbulent end to the NFC Championship game.

“There’s some comfort when your teammates come and give you a pat on the back and say we win and lose as a team,” Williams said on “The Dan Patrick Show” on Tuesday.

Williams was shocked by the threats made on his life. He spoke about an imaginary line between players and fans in professional sports, some people cross the line and don’t even think twice about it.

“People just write blindly and I guess that’s to be expected  with how open Twitter is,” Williams said on ESPN Radio’s “Hill & Schlereth” on Monday.

Williams did receive some uplifting support from a seven-year-old boy from Los Angeles. The boy, Owen Shure, after being heartbroken by the 49ers loss was asked how he thought Williams felt after his missteps lead to the loss. Shure proceeded to write a letter to his favorite perturbed athlete. The letter told Williams to be proud of the season he had and that Shure would always be his number one fan. This was a welcome sight to Williams after all the negative feedback he had received from fans.

The death threats Williams received are part of the game though. No one understands this more than his father, Kenny Williams, the General Manager of the Chicago White Sox. He has received threats on many occasions for his sometimes questionable trades and free agent signings.

“I’m used to the years of criticism and threats on my life from time to time, but I have to hear about threats on your son’s life while you’re watching TV and it certainly makes you question the culture of sports as it stands,” Kenny Williams told ESPN Chicago.

As for Kyle Williams, all he can do is seek solace in the off-season and come back next year to win back 49er fans that have left him for dead.

Early Exit Likely for Injury-Hobbled Lakers in 2010 NBA Playoffs?

The long-standing injury to Kobe Bryant's right index finger is one which could easily limit the Lakers' chances of a repeat in 2010.

Despite earning the top seed and home court advantage throughout the NBA Western Conference Playoffs for the third consecutive year, the injury-plagued Los Angeles Lakers—who finished the last ten games of the regular season at a dismal 4-6 win/loss record—have more than enough reason to be concerned going into the 2010 NBA Playoffs.

Although he has stated that he will return from injury in the Lakers’ playoff opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Lakers may be forced to begin the 2010 NBA Playoffs without the availability of center Andrew Bynum due to a strained Achilles tendon suffered on March 19 against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Staples Center.  With the Lakers regular season record standing at 38-12 with a healthy combo of Bynum and forward/center Pau Gasol versus a 19-13 record with one or both injured (Mike Trudell, Lakers.com BasketBlog), it is no secret that the Lakers’ success depends very heavily on the health of their front court.

Another injury which may prove to be even more troubling for the Lakers in the 2010 NBA Playoffs is that to the right index finger of Kobe Bryant, which has remained a source of concern for the Lakers throughout much of the regular season.  Prior to suffering an avulsion fracture in his right index finger during the regular season, Bryant’s shot percentage was four percentage points higher; his scoring average three points per game higher than the time of the injury—after which Bryant began playing with a splint on his finger.  This will be critical for the Lakers—for whom it can easily be argued that the difference maker in finishing two games ahead of Dallas to earn the top seed in the Western Conference was a number of decisive clutch shots from Bryant.

Billingsley Consistency Key for Dodgers in 2010 Playoff Hopes

The Los Angeles Dodgers will need an improved level of consistency in the performance of Chad Billingsley and the rest of their starting rotation if they are to have a shot at a World Series ring in 2010.

At the midpoint of the 2009 season, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley was considered by many to be the ace of the Dodgers’ starting rotation, and was named as a member of the National League All-Star team with a win/loss record of 9-4 and an Earned Run Average of 3.38.  The Dodgers’ record at the break stood at 56-32—the best in all of Major League Baseball at that point.  In his starts following the All-Star break, Billingsley went 3-7 with an ERA of 5.20, and allowed a .271 total batting average in the second half of the season versus .227 for opposing batters in the half prior to the break.  The Dodgers record following the break stood a mere 4 games above .500—at a record of 39-35—as they finished the season with only a three-game lead in the National League West division standings over the Colorado Rockies.

Although it would certainly be unreasonable to blame Billingsley’s performance alone for the Dodgers’ second-half slide or for their second consecutive 4-1 NLCS series loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009, there does appear to be a strong reflection within his second half performance woes of a greater problem with the Dodgers’ consistency over the course of the season.  Although the Dodgers still managed to achieve the top record in the National League and in turn earned home field advantage throughout the 2009 National League playoff series, their shaky performance and lack of consistency in the second half carried over into the playoffs, and became glaringly evident as the Philadelphia Phillies put the Dodgers away quickly in the NLCS in a fashion all too similar to the previous season.

Especially considering that the Dodgers’ starting rotation for 2010 will lean heavily upon Billingsley as well as 22 year-old All-Star caliber starter Clayton Kershaw, consistency will be crucial not only in allowing the Dodgers to make another bid for a World Series run this season, but in giving the team steady momentum heading into the playoffs—a time at which consistency will be as necessary as at any other point in the season—regardless of whether or not the Dodgers achieve the best record in the regular season, or attain home field advantage in the playoffs.