By Adam Hoge-
CHICAGO (CBS) When Kyle Williams fumbled away last Sunday’s NFC Championship Game, you couldn’t help but feel for the guy.
It was one of those sports moments that transcends objectivity as a neutral observer. The hate from San Francisco 49ers fans was inevitable, the death threats predictable.
Kyle coughed up the ball twice, the first of which led to a Giants’ touchdown and the second of which set up their game-winning field goal in overtime. All-in-all, the two turnovers cost the 49ers 10 points and in all honesty, the game.
But in facing one of the toughest beatings an athlete has ever taken, Kyle stood up like a man, accepted the criticism and took full responsibility.
Not surprisingly, he made his father proud.
“Through it all, the young man has shown me exactly who I thought he was,” White Sox general manager Kenny Williams, Kyle’s father, said Friday at SoxFest. “Which is a man of character and a strong minded tough son of a gun. He’s hurting right now and he’s pissed. And he should be.
“How could a father be anything but proud?”
Williams specifically gave credit to the 49ers organization for the way they handled the ordeal and supported Kyle. In reality, he cost the team a trip to the Super Bowl, but head coach Jim Harbaugh and the rest of the organization didn’t cast any blame and supported Kyle wholeheartedly.
“They have a special program out there because the players care about one another and they stick together,” Williams said.
And as the White Sox turn towards the 2012 season with a new manager and a new attitude, Williams admits the whole ordeal has opened his eyes to what his baseball team might be missing: that same togetherness the 49ers showed his son in the toughest time of his career.
“I think we can get to that point,” Williams said. “After witnessing what I’ve witnessed, I’m certainly encouraged that we can get to a higher level than we’ve experienced around here.”
Williams said 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh asked if he could make a visit to spring training this year and throw out the first pitch a game. Kenny has much bigger plans than that though.
“He has no idea, but he’s going to stand up in front of the White Sox and talk about a little team leadership and a little bit of togetherness because we need to tap into that a little bit.”
Yes, after a year of finger-pointing and constant drama — a lot of it involving Kenny himself — that certainly sounds like something the White Sox could use.
Adam is the Sports Content Producer for CBSChicago.com and specializes in coverage of the White Sox, Blackhawks and college sports. He was born and raised in Lincoln Park and attended St. Ignatius College Prep before going off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned a Journalism degree. Follow him on Twitter @AdamHogeCBS and read more of his columns here.