Kyle Williams became a household name Sunday for all the wrong reasons.
After his two botched punt returns helped seal the 49ers' fate against the Giants in the NFC title game, Williams encountered a storm of hateful, threatening online comments from those angered by his role in the loss.
"It was kind of shocking," Williams told ESPN Radio on Monday. "I kind of had been forewarned before I even got to the point where I could check it. I was forewarned by some of my family members and some of my friends that were there to not to look at the Twitter and the Facebook because it was going to be pretty bad."
It would be understandable to see Williams vanish for a month, but he hasn't avoided the media and he hasn't backed down from the haters. Despite his youth, the 23-year-old accepts the less-glorious side to life as a pro athlete. He told ESPN Radio of the fine "line" that separates NFL players from the public in this age of social media.
"Some people cross that line and don't think twice about it ... don't think that there's somebody on the other side of that line that may feel that or that may have to respond to that or may have to deal with that," Williams said.
"People just write blindly, and I guess that's to be expected with how open Twitter is and how open Facebook is. Again, there's a line, and some people cross it and some people have respect for it."
NFL security has taken the threats seriously, and for Williams, the experience has helped separate the wheat from the chaff among the 49ers' faithful.
"True 49ers fans have come to my support, although they realize that I made a mistake," Williams said. "Just like I realize it."