Jeff Garcia regrets not having any regrets.
“First of all, I don’t owe anyone an apology for my beliefs and my experience playing the QB position,” Garcia said. “The difficulty of that position, the expectations in that position, how qualified you have to be to be one of the 32 starters in the National Football League… people want to tear apart, take down individuals based on statistics.
“The only metric that really matters right now is, are you winning games or losing games?”
The former 49ers quarterback was a lightning rod in the sports media this week after tearing up Kimes for analogizing Garoppolo with a non-contributor on a school project and getting an “A” on others’ work. Garoppolo and the 49ers did not score a touchdown on offense as the team defeated the Packers 13-10 on Saturday to reach the NFC title game.
Commenting on Instagram, Garcia tore Kimes as someone who wasn’t qualified to criticize Garoppolo, as she never played quarterback in the NFL. He also disputed the idea that his comment was sexist, saying he would have reacted similarly to criticism from a man like Kimes.
“There was nothing sexist about what I had to say, other than the fact, yes, women don’t play professional football, there are women who do participate in football,” Garcia said, “but if it had been a man who said the same thing I would have reacted the same for that man who has never pocketed, who has never given a touchdown pass, never received a blow to the head while trying to play from the pocket.
“To be able to sit there and criticize someone at the level that Jimmy Garoppolo is at, at the level of all these quarterbacks, at the level I played at and say it was sexist, misogynistic – people wanted to say there was a racism behind it – people wanted to destroy me as a player. What you think, whatever you want to say, I don’t care. All I care about is what Niners fans and believers think, what my family thinks, what my close friends think . That’s all that matters.”
Garcia, 51, played for the 49ers, Browns, Lions, Eagles and Bucs between 1999 and 2009. He kept repeating that he didn’t believe his Instagram rant against Kimes was sexist.
“All this other hypocrisy, this madness that stems from my comments about a woman — toward a woman who broke Jimmy Garoppolo, basically saying he was coming along for the ride,” he said. “First of all, you’re going to play a game in zero-degree weather and see how productive you are to throw even a 10-meter football without someone chasing you and no one else around you. It’s not an easy thing to do.”
The clip of Kimes’ appearance on “First Take” this week, he said, came across his Instagram feed and wasn’t something he was looking for.
“I don’t find out what people are saying, I’m not sitting here listening to ESPN. There was a message that came through my feed from a loyal 49ers account,” Garcia said. “It was in his post where he took a screenshot of what Mina had said, or he shared the video. I made a comment on his post, or at least that’s what I thought I was going to do, to the 49ers stalwarts and said, “Hey, I’m behind Jimmy, he knows he needs to play better.”
“We’re all very self-critical at this level of how we play the game. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t be at this level. He might be more critical of himself than anyone. It just happened that she was mouthing the end of the video post being shared. If it was Skip Bayless, if it was you…I would have said the same thing. It had nothing to do with her being a woman.”
Matt Steinmetz, co-host of the program, asked Garcia if he could criticize Jimmy Garoppolo.
“Go ahead. Everyone does. It’s fuel for their fire,” Garcia responded.
“But I never played the game, Jeff,” Steinmetz said. “I’ve never thrown a touchdown pass before, why would I? Why am I allowed to criticize Jimmy Garoppolo?”
“Look, if you were the one who criticized him and said similar things and I happened to see it, I would have said the same thing about you,” Garcia said. “It has nothing to do with her being a woman or whether you’re a man. It has to do with the experience of being in that position.”
Despite lingering questions about the incident, Garcia attempted to steer the subject to the 49ers’ upcoming NFC title game against the Rams. In the end, Garcia refused to apologize one last time before hanging up.
“I’m a very nice person, I’m a very giving person,” Garcia said. “Do I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder because I had to constantly, constantly prove myself? Absolutely. When I hear someone, be it Mina or anyone else, talk about football, give his or her insight and professional opinion without ever really done, then there is a mistake in. Everyone is entitled to his opinion.
“It had nothing to do with disrespecting women. Nothing! If people want to turn it around like that, that’s a shame. I was just saying you’ve never played the game. It’s history, it’s old. Continue.”