The 49ers' good-citizen reputation has slipped in the past week with scandalous headlines involving quarterback Colin Kapernick, wide receiver Quinton Patton, safety Chris Culliver and linebacker Aldon Smith.

The Bay Area News Group queried sports marketing experts Monday -- a day after Smith's "bomb threat" incident at Los Angeles International Airport -- to see how the spate of alleged transgressions might affect the team's brand.

Here are the highlights:

Kenneth Shropshire, an author, legal consultant to the NFL and MLB and Wharton School of Business professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

On sullying the team brand:

File: San Francisco 49ers’ Chris Culliver (29) during the first day of training camp at the 49ers training facility in Santa Clara, Calif. on
File: San Francisco 49ers' Chris Culliver (29) during the first day of training camp at the 49ers training facility in Santa Clara, Calif. on Thursday, July 25, 2013. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) (Nhat V. Meyer)

"They will get a big pass by virtue of the new facility. It's a three- to five-year honeymoon period. It's good timing for bad activity."

On controlling players' actions:

"The 49ers have the best people in the world working with them with Dr. Harry Edwards. That is an indicator of how difficult it is."

Bob Dorfman, sports marketing expert at San Francisco's Baker Street Advertising

On the team's image:

"Football seems to be teflon-coated when it comes to these kind of things. Winning and the games seem to supercede any kind of negativity that happens in the offseason or the week before a game. Ultimately, the NFL is so strong and powerful and so big in ratings none of this stuff seems to have a tremendous effect on the league.

"The bigger picture prevails. And the bigger picture is they got a new stadium, they are a Super Bowl-caliber team, they seem to keep winning and that's all most people seem to care about in the long run."

On what management needs to do:

"The 49ers do have to show they are addressing the problem and they are serious about it and they are not enabling these guys to do these kinds of things.

File: San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith (99) practices Thursday afternoon, Jan. 16, 2014, in Santa Clara, Calif., preparing for Sunday’s NFC
File: San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith (99) practices Thursday afternoon, Jan. 16, 2014, in Santa Clara, Calif., preparing for Sunday's NFC Championship game against the Seattle Seahawks. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

"With Aldon Smith's case, they may have to cut to the chord with him. He may be beyond help. It's getting to that stage where they've given him chances and he may have bigger problems than the team can solve at this point."

David Spencer, partner and managing director of sports and international operations at Talent Resources

On the impact on the franchise:

"In the short-term there is some negative consequences for the image of the brand, especially for the 49ers, who for the past 25 years have been one of the marquee brands in all professional sports."

On why the incidents are happening:

File: Colin Kaepernick, quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers speaks to the media at the Niners training camp facility in Santa Clara, Calif., on
File: Colin Kaepernick, quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers speaks to the media at the Niners training camp facility in Santa Clara, Calif., on Wednesday, July 31, 2013. (Gary Reyes/Bay Area News Group) (Gary Reyes)

"This misbehavior stems from (the fact) there hasn't been any consequences from their actions. Management needs to have fines and suspensions for the players just like any other sport would have done. In the end it does start from the top. These guys need to be corralled sooner than later."

On solving the issues:

"I have no doubt the team will rally around the players and get this issue solved. They don't really have a choice. It goes back to the team's move. They've got brand partners to answer to. It's not only the team but the Levi's of the world and other brand partners."

Paul Swangard, managing director of James H. Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at University of Oregon

On NFL image makers:

"The NFL has dealt with myriad of issues, whether it is concussions, dog fighting, attempted murder, shootings.

The most important thing is wins and loses and the games that are going to be played. That tends to drown out the negative. The consumers of the NFL ultimately want to watch the players play, not necessarily want to think about all the shenanigans they get themselves into."

On 49ers fans reaction:

"It won't be a huge hit to the brand -- if we've reached the zenith of the headline; if the police choose not to do anything in Florida. It goes off into the night and people get back to focusing on what they want to focus on, which is football."

On team's ability to control their image:

"You are able to mitigate the damage of some of these negative headlines when you've done everything you can as an organization to build goodwill. While you can't control the action of your players you can do a lot to protect the franchise's brand from being dragged into the mud."

Matt Levine, former Sharks executive and Bay Area sports marketing consultant

On the NFL's role:

"Overriding each individual franchise is the league brand. And the National Football League, more than any other sports league, drives the overall sport. People follow the league, with the fantasy football and the wagering, far more than individual teams."

On fans' views of athletes:

"Even these activities with Kaepernick and Aldon Smith really are a bump in the road. I think fans don't elevate athletes onto the pedestal heights the way they used to. More and more people have learned about the private lives of athletes, and they're not surprised by these things. As athletes get in trouble and show questionable judgment, fans just become numb to it all. And they're far more concerned about how it will affect their team's play."

On the 49ers' reaction to the transgressions:

"The most important thing now is how ismanagement handling it? It really gets down to leadership, from the ownership to the coaches. If they don't want to put their heads in the sand and don't take this lightly, they can look out for what's best for both the team and the individual. In the past, the 49ers have handled problems like this very well."