For two years, Jack Hammer established himself as an authoritative voice within the Niners community as a writer, and personality covering one of the NFL’s most popular franchises for The Santa Rosa Press Democrat’s “Inside the 49ers” blog. He wrote hundreds of stories for the Press Democrat, reporting on the team and appearing on podcasts throughout the Bay Area, and developed a following within the community. His YouTube page had accumulated 10,000 subscribers and he was on a first-name basis with some of the most notable figures in Niners coverage. But while the Niners were stumbling into their first loss of the season, Hammer’s coverage was MIA.
His social media accounts, including his Twitter, @JackHammer_NFL, had all been deleted. 957 The Game radio host Larry Krueger announced that he would be discontinuing his Friday streams with Hammer. Former Press Democrat sports columnist Grant Cohn frequently hosted Hammer on his YouTube page focusing on the Niners and denounced Patterson as well.
At the end of last week, intrepid users conducted research on their trusted Niners voice and uncovered his true identity — Hammer was actually a pseudonym for Jeff Patterson. Patterson might be a vanilla name, but his past was scandalous. Before he became an authority on Niners football, he was abusing his authority with a teenage girl. In 2005, Patterson was a high school football coach and math teacher at Sobrato High School in the South Bay.
Reportedly, Patterson urged a student to forge a note to get her out of sixth period, then left campus where Patterson picked her up. Patterson then drove her to an empty parking lot where she said she had oral sex with Patterson.
Patterson pleaded no contest on a count of felony oral copulation with a minor as well as an additional misdemeanor. The victim’s mother demanded the maximum punishment and said that Patterson was fully aware of the girl’s “delicate mental status,” and that she had been to an emergency room because of an overdose since the incident. The victim’s mother also lamented that her family would be “facing these demons forever.”
The maximum sentence for felony oral copulation under California penal code is eight years if the victim is 14 or younger, or if the victim is 10 years younger than the defendant. Patterson was 32. He was slapped with five years of probation, served 60 days in a work release program, and had his teaching certification permanently revoked. At some point over the years, it was Hammer Time, Patterson became “Jack Hammer” and the long con was on.
The first clue something was off, should have been the name. Upon first glance, that might sound like the perfect football guy name, but it’s as fugazi as spray-tanned abs. Secondly, as if the shame of the offense he was convicted of weren’t enough, Patterson never even left the city in which he committed his sex crime. Then, he had the unmitigated gall to become a notable media member in one of the nation’s largest media markets.
On Saturday morning, The Press Democrat’s Executive Editor John D’Anna did some cleanup on Aisle 49, explaining that Patterson was an independent contractor, and therefore not subject to their employee background check progress. But all that does is make the case for converting more freelancers into full-time employees.
Something tells me “Jack Hammer” wasn’t some nickname he was given when he was just a kid. Patterson knew what he was doing when he started pursuing the blogging route under a pseudonym.
He was always going to rub up against the reality of his past indiscretions. It’s just surprising that it took this long. Becoming a public figure while hiding a despicable past behind a fake name is the sort of doltish thinking that convinced Patterson to throw it all away by taking advantage of a minor.
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