SANTA CLARA (CBS SF/AP) — San Francisco 49ers first-round pick Nick Bosa has a prominent fan.
President Donald Trump tweeted out congratulations to Bosa on Saturday for being the second overall pick in the NFL draft. Trump told Bosa he will be a great player and to “always stay true to yourself.”
The Ohio State defensive end has been a public supporter of Trump on social media, once referring to him in an acronym as the greatest of all-time.
Bosa’s social media history has been under scrutiny for calling former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick a “clown” for his protests during the national anthem and liking a post that contained homophobic and racist hashtags.
“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,” Bosa told reporters during his Friday press conference at 49ers headquarters. “It was just me, a specific thing that happened and me as a young kid, a thought popping into my head and boom, decided to tweet it out. Bad, bad decision. I respect what he’s done. If it empowers anybody, then he’s doing a good thing. I apologize for that.”
When pressed further, Bossa blamed many of the posts on “insensitive decisions.”
“I definitely made some insensitive decisions throughout my life,” he said. “I’m just excited to be here with a clean slate. I’m sorry if I hurt anybody. I definitely didn’t intend for that to be the case. I think me being here is even better for me as a person because I don’t think there’s anywhere, 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 with people, all different kinds,” he added. “I’m going to grow as a person and be on my own. College, you still have 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. I’m excited.”
When asked about deleting many of the tweets when the controversy began brewing, he said his agent played a role in that.
“It’s kind of what prospects do a lot of the time,” he said.”My agent took control of my social media when it comes to that. I wasn’t going through and saying, ‘Delete this, delete this, delete this.’ He just went through and deleted whatever he thought would rub people the wrong way. I didn’t think people would take that as me trying to hide things.”
When asked about how it would impact his new teammates, Bosa said he would work hard to win them over with his actions on the field and during practice.
“I think once they get in and I meet the guys and they learn who I am, I don’t think there’s going to need any explaining,” he said. “I think they’re going to see who I am as a person and that’ll be enough.”
Head Coach Kyle Shanahan said team officials have spent a good deal of time with Bosa and have no concerns
“I was very happy with the guy I got to spend some time with him,” Shanahan said. “We got to go to dinner with him, spend a lot with. We always had the interview. You never get the full book when you hang out with someone just a couple times like that, but you spent a lot of talking to people.”
Many fans at the 49ers draft party were aware of his questionable social media history but they’re more concerned about how he’s going to perform on the field. One fan said he hopes to keep politics out of sports. Another added Bosa should’ve handled his social media activity better but feels the defensive end will be a good fit for the 49ers.”