David White

David White: 49ers running out of class

Meddling ownership. Out of control kids. Player mutiny, with parole officers to boot.

Just who do the 49ers think they are, the Oakland Raiders?

When it comes to franchise dysfunction, it’s the 49ers in most need of couch therapy these days, not the Raiders. Nothing that happens when the Bay Area neighbors meet Sundayat the Coliseum will change that clinical truth.

The 49ers have gone from Super Bowl contender to an unkempt mess, and good luck making sense of how they’ve gone from three straight NFC championship games to this domestic fiasco.

Who’s got it better than us, coach Jim Harbaugh asks? Seven teams in the current NFC playoff standings, with only six seats available at the postseason dinner table. San Francisco’s problems go far beyond their third-place slot in the four-team NFC West, though.

To review:

A. Owner Jed York tweets an apology for a 49ers performance that was “unacceptable” … moments before the general manager’s grown daughter calls for offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s headset on a pink-slip platter. But other than that, how was Thanksgiving?

B. Outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks gets benched in the second half against the Giants, because he wasn’t happy with his playing time after Aldon Smith came back from a nine-game suspension fueled by multiple arrests and substance abuse policy violations.

C. Wide receiver Michael Crabtree celebrates a New Orleans victory by saying he’s nothing more than a “third-down receiver.”

D. Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis ... oh, that’s right, nothing to report on him ever since he ended his training camp holdout. The again, is he still holding out? Because we don’t remember seeing him out there in months.

E. Defensive tackle Ray McDonald was arrested on suspicion of felony domestic violence. No charges were filed, but the 49ers took a political beating for letting him play through the process in a post-Ray Rice world.

Don’t forget the Harbaugh trade rumors, quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s sad act of saving his talking for the field — and not saying much worth hearing there, either — and the half-empty stands and disintegrating lawn at Levi’s Stadium.

So what if the 49ers are still competitively superior to the eye patches next door? To merely want to be better than the Raiders is to lack ambition. The 49ers are supposed to win championships, and to do so with class. They were always the franchise that took the higher road to Lombardi Blvd.

The 49ers always left it to the Raiders to be the rogues, the Crazy Uncle Al muttering unveiled threats at the family Christmas dinner about how everyone’s out to get them.

Now, it’s the 49ers blaming the media conspiracy, and the referee conspiracy, and more media conspiracy for all that’s gone wrong. Because, we’re the ones who get their players arrested, and who hack their Twitter accounts, and who bring out the field-goal kicking unit every time the offense reaches the red zone.

The 49ers are better than this, and we don’t mean their 7-5 record. It won’t kill their quarterback to have a civil conversation at the podium like all the other quarterbacks in the NFL do. Their head coach can stop shoveling slop like “Great with a Capital G” when talking about his quarterback. Their owner can save his criticism for closed-door meetings.

All the 49ers have to play for right now is their dignity. Even if they make the playoffs, to what end? They’ve been waxed by both returning Super Bowl contestants, which means they can go only so far come January.

Here’s what the 49ers can do: Carry themselves with class again, whether they win or take it in the shin.

You know, like the Oakland Raiders.

Contact David White: bydw@sbcglobal.net and on Twitter @bydavidwhite.

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