SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Acknowledging the irony that he will begin his NFL career with the same team that used to employ the quarterback he once called “a clown” on Twitter, new San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa expressed remorse for that post about Colin Kaepernick on Friday afternoon.
Bosa called Kaepernick a clown on Twitter in August of 2016, a tweet that was deleted in the run-up to Thursday’s draft as part of a scrubbing of potentially controversial posts from his social media.
In his introductory news conference with the Bay Area media on Friday, Bosa said that the tweet wasn’t meant to be a statement on Kaepernick’s social justice efforts and apologized.
“It wasn’t directed towards (Kaepernick’s stance),” Bosa said. “It’s not like I’m saying his stance and what he was doing, that’s not what I was calling or talking about at all. It was just a specific thing that happened and me as a young kid a thought popping in my head and boom, decided to tweet it out. Bad decision. I respect what he’s done. If it empowers anybody then he’s doing a good thing. So, I apologize for that.”
Bosa’s approach to social media came under scrutiny in the past few months for tweets like the one aimed at Kaepernick and others that garnered attention for his conservative-leaning political views and support of President Donald Trump.
Much like other prospects, Bosa said his agent had his social media accounts scrubbed of any content that could be deemed controversial as the draft drew near. In a recent interview with ESPN, he said he “had to” because “there is a chance I might end up in San Francisco.”
That proved prescient on Thursday night when the Niners used the No. 2 overall pick on Bosa. Soon after, Bosa said he “loves” the Bay Area and referred to his past Twitter remarks as “insensitive.”
On Friday, Bosa expounded on his social media history and said he views living in the Bay Area as an opportunity for personal growth.
“I definitely made some insensitive decisions throughout my life and I’m just excited to be here with a clean slate,” Bosa said. “I’m sorry if I hurt anybody. I definitely didn’t intend for that to be the case but I think me being here is even better for me as a person because I don’t think there’s any city that you could really be in that would help you grow as much as this one will.
“I’m going to be surrounded by people, all different kinds, so I’m going to grow as a person and I’m going to be on my own. College, you have kind of like that support system around you. Now I’m here, I’m going to be on my own, I’m going to grow up, I’m going to learn a lot of new things.”
While Bosa has not yet had the chance to meet his new teammates, he will soon as the Niners are scheduled to begin their rookie minicamp next Friday. He said he doesn’t anticipate having to explain himself to his teammates when the time comes.
“I think once I get in and I meet the guys and they learn who I am, I don’t think there’s going to need any explaining,” Bosa said. “I think they’re going to see who I am as a person and that will be enough.”
As they do with all of their potential draft picks, the 49ers said they thoroughly vetted Bosa before drafting him, including his use of social media. They had lunch with Bosa in Columbus, Ohio, after his pro day, hosted him on one of their 30 allotted pre-draft visits and also spent time with him at the scouting combine.
In addition, general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan said their staff did extensive work interviewing those who know Bosa best. They came away with little question about how Bosa would fit in their locker room.
“We did a lot of talking to coaches, we did a lot of talking to Nick’s teammates,” Lynch said. “And what they’ll tell you is he’s one of the most beloved players that’s ever been through there. To the rest of his teammates, to his coaches and all that. And that spoke volumes to us.”
As for his future social media use, Bosa said he intends to pick and choose his spots before pressing the send button.
“I’ve learned a lot the past couple of months,” Bosa said. “I’m definitely going to think a lot more before I send something out.”