Disputing the notion that quarterback Colin Kaepernick is ostracized in the San Francisco 49ers locker room, coach Jim Tomsula on Tuesday likened any friction on the team to an old-school family function.
Tomsula said that after the Niners' 17-3 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 5, which dropped the team's record to 1-3, he called a meeting that he described as "pointed," "heated," "productive" and "truthful" on his weekly radio appearance on KNBR Radio.
"The biggest thing I said to them: 'Guys, it's like an Italian dining room table,'" Tomsula, who has an Italian and Hungarian heritage, told KNBR.
"'Everybody's sitting around the table, and sometimes it gets heated, dishes get broken, people leave. [Then] everybody's got to come back to the table to eat. And when it's all said and done, there's hugging and kissing and we're eating good food again, OK?'
"And I mean that with all due respect."
After Thursday night's listless 20-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the Niners are 2-5 with a game at the St. Louis Rams up next on Sunday. Since the morning of the Seahawks game, reports have been filtering out that paint Kaepernick as a loner who used to sit in the lunchroom wearing headphones (ESPN), or that say he's on an "island" in the locker room (Fox Sports) and was "called out" in a team meeting by a teammate (CSN Bay Area).
Tomsula said the meeting following the Packers game ended with Tomsula telling the players, "You guys, get talking," Tomsula recalled.
And it was in there, purportedly, where one player took on Kaepernick and another came to his defense.
But as far as the "island" characterization, "That's definitely not reality," Tomsula said, adding that he saw his quarterback working out with some linemen on the field on Tuesday. "That was very good to see," Tomsula said.
Kaepernick is scheduled to speak to the media on Wednesday.