It would be ludicrous to suggest that the San Francisco police department is scheming to hurt the post-season chances of the its hometown football team, right? Right. And yet, the 49ers are still giving the side-eye to the SFPD for undertaking (and informing the media of) the Michael Crabtree sexual assault investigation. In a short article about the feeling among the 49ers that the inquiry won't lead to charges, a source from the 49ers told ESPN this:
The team thought the timing of the announcement of the investigation, coming Friday night, was suspicious.
The 49ers are right. The timing of the announcement, on Friday night, five days after the alleged assault took place, while the 49ers were reportedly "en route" to Atlanta, is a bit suspicious. It is not suspicious for the reason that the 49ers think it is. Many will tell you that publicizing a story on a Friday night ensures it will receive as little coverage as possible. In this case, the timing also served to answer questions about why Crabtree was allowed to travel to Atlanta before they were asked—he was already on the plane.
Do those things make the investigation invalid? No. The San Francisco police department is almost certainly able to put aside any rooting interests and, you know, act like professional police. Even if they couldn't, they probably aren't Falcons fans. The anonymous 49ers source is employing a time-tested strategy: Impugn the motives of the people who uncovered your misdeeds; make the misdeeds seem insignificant. Suggesting that San Francisco police are plotting to sabotage San Francisco football, though, is a tough sell.