SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Two weeks after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was criticized for an insensitive remark he made on Instagram, head coach Jim Tomsula said he plans to caution his players on the risks of using social media.
Talking to reporters on the first day of the 49ers' three-day mandatory minicamp, Tomsula was outspoken when discussing the topic and drew laughs when he mentioned his own lack of use of social media.
But San Francisco's first-year head coach turned very serious when asked what his message will be to the players.
"The message will be just here it is, this is what it is, and how do you use this and how do you live with this in our world?" Tomsula said. "I could say something to you right now and in the next sentence say I didn't mean that. Well, to me that's what you can't do on the social media. God knows as much as I misspeak I'd be a disaster on that stuff."
On May 26, amid heavy rains and severe flooding in Texas, Kaepernick posted a picture of the disaster along with the following comment: "I warned you the #7tormsComing!! #Houston." Kaepernick's jersey number is 7. Hours later, Kaepernick apologized on Instagram for his "insensitive post" and said he didn't fully understand the situation.
Asked about Tomsula's plans to speak with the team about using social media, Kaepernick gave a quick response before diverting the discussion to the 49ers' hosting a 14-year-old cancer patient during the minicamp.
"[Tomsula] does a lot of meetings just talking about life, talking about real situations," Kaepernick said Tuesday. "For example, like the Make-A-Wish kid today. It's someone who has been fighting for his life. We get to come out here and play football and we say it's hard work but we're blessed to be able to do what we do and have the opportunity to touch a lot of different people."
Tomsula defended Kaepernick, who was heavily criticized for his comments about the Houston flooding.
"That was a mistake that he didn't have all the facts, wasn't sure what it was, saw a picture and apologized," Tomsula said. "[He] owned it."
Kicker Phil Dawson said that it's important for players to be careful when using social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
"In a setting like this, most guys think through what they're going to say in a formal interview," Dawson said. "When you're sitting at home and there's no cameras in your face, you can fire something out there and it's kind of a different deal. Guys need to understand that anything you put out there represents you and your team and your family and all that. Coach Tomsula does a good job of making sure that's on the front of our minds."
Offensive lineman Alex Boone, who attended the minicamp after skipping the 49ers' offseason workouts, agrees.
"Guys have to worry too much about what the fans think nowadays," Boone said. "Don't get me wrong, guys do post inappropriate things and do inappropriate things. But at the same time I think it's more common sense. If you wouldn't want your mom to see it, then don't post it. I've had to restrain myself a few times, believe me."
Tomsula said he avoids using social media entirely.
"I don't like it at all," he said. "I don't know anything about it, I don't do it, I don't use it. I really don't want everybody knowing where I'm at all the time or what I'm eating. I don't get it personally. And it just so happens every time I do hear about it, it's not in a good way.
"The guys know that, they laugh and make fun that I'm in the dark ages. It's just not my thing. Now I understand it's other people's thing and that's fine, but if that's going to be a part -- and it is part of society -- then we've got to figure out how to manage it personally. Our big deal is own it and fix it."
49ers coach Jim Tomsula will guide players on social media