CHICAGO — White Sox general manager Ken Williams is still feeling his son's pain.
Kyle Williams of the San Francisco 49ers muffed one punt and fumbled another in last Sunday's NFC championship game as the New York Giants earned a berth in the Super Bowl. His fumble in overtime set up Lawrence Tynes' winning field goal in New York's 20-17 victory.
"As a father, it was absolutely awful. Even if it weren't my kid, I'd still feel bad for what happened," Ken Williams said Friday night at the White Sox winter festival.
Kyle Williams not only stood up and answered reporters' questions about his mistakes, but was subjected to hateful, hurtful, even threatening comments via social media.
"Through it all, the young man has shown me exactly who I thought he was, which is a man of character, a strong-minded, tough son of a gun," Ken Williams said. "He's hurting right now ... Believe me, I'm not happy with some of the death threats and some of the things that are unfortunately part of our culture. I wish it weren't that way, but I have first-hand knowledge of it being that way.
"He grew up in a household where he knew exactly what to expect. He stood up in front of more media than I've ever stood in front of and told them exactly what he felt, and took responsibility. How can a father be anything but proud?"
Many of Kyle Williams' teammates came to his defense and rallied around him. And, Ken Williams took notice.
"They have put together something there where it's all for one and one for all," Williams said.
And he'd like the White Sox to hear about it first-hand.
Williams said 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, the former Chicago Bears quarterback, asked to come to spring training and throw out a first pitch and hang around baseball because he loves the sport.
But Harbaugh will have one chore when he comes to Glendale, Ariz., where the White Sox hold spring training.
"He has no idea, but he's going to stand up in front of the White Sox and talk about team leadership and togetherness," Williams said. "We need to tap into that a little bit."