It's been many hours since the first reports broke about the incident involving 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in Miami. But even hours later this is not the time for instant conclusions from fragmented pieces of information and half-guesses. At least not by me and not by anybody who wants the facts to emerge and everyone treated fairly.
You can't make a judgment on what went on April 1 with Ricardo Lockette, Kaepernick, Quinton Patton and the woman who ended up in a hospital bed the next morning.
Miami police say this is an "incident report" and they are investigating the circumstances, according to Mercury News reporters Natalie Neysa Alund and Cam Inman (and first reported by TMZ Sports).
You can't make conclusions about what the woman said, about Kaepernick's role, and certainly not about Kaepernick's overall reputation and ability to land a huge contract extension.
Not until there are more details revealed either by the police or other credible accounts. The fact that the woman mentioned marijuana use only complicates things, no doubt.
I know no more than what I've read. Here are three general thoughts, not just specific to this incident but to young athletes and the teams that pay and try to watch over them...
* Team leaders show their leadership in the off-season too by staying out of headlines like this one. Even if all three players are absolved of all theoretical crimes, it's never good for a player -- especially a headline player -- to have his name sullied and that partly sullies the team, too.
I've mentioned that I believe Kaepernick is the NFL's first singular social media star, someone who can speak to fans directly through Instagram and Twitter without paying much attention to creaky old platforms like newspaper or TV reporters.
But teams still make money because they appeal to everybody who likes the sport, and advertisers still want to appeal to all demographics, so yes, this is something Kaepernick will want to clear up swiftly.
If this was just a weird mix-up, it's still the kind of weird mix-up that Kaepernick would do best to avoid in the future. That is, if he wants to be a team leader and he wants to deserve it.
* Franchises do not expect their players to be choir boys, however.
Would all owners want their top players to act like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Willis, Joe Staley and Vernon Davis? Yes, of course.
But that is not possible for everyone.
They're young men with money, they are sought-after, and sometimes young famous athletes will get themselves into awkward situations possibly partly or largely of their own doing.
This is not unique to Kaepernick among the 49ers' young stars, as anyone who has followed Aldon Smith, Ahmad Brooks, Daniel Kilgore and Chris Culliver knows full well.
It gets blurry. It's hard to tell fact from fiction sometimes. And occasionally somebody has to go.
This is not unique just to players. The 49ers parted ways with GM Scot McCloughan due to his "personal issues" back in March 2010.
And Jim Harbaugh has not shied away from talking about his own mistake -- a DUI arrest in 2005 when he was the University of San Diego coach.
I asked Harbaugh about that -- and how it relates to his relationship with Aldon Smith in particular after Smith's DUI issues -- a few months ago. Here's what Harbaugh said:
"I mean, all of us who tend to point the finger at somebody else and say, 'Look where they took a misstep.'
We think of ourselves as very smart, but how did we get to that point? Because we learned from our mistakes. We all get smart by learning from our mistakes."
* None of us can begin to guess how this might affect the 49ers' efforts or desire to sign Kaepernick to a huge contract extension this summer.
The 49ers power-brokers have strongly signaled that they want to get Kaepernick signed to a new deal before training camp begins and I'm not sure whether that will be put on hold while this investigation goes on.
The 49ers have shown that they will extend great patience through some iffy or illegal behavior by players they like and believe in, obviously the Aldon Smith situation comes first to mind.
The QB is a different position, of course. And talking about $18M to $22M a year changes the expectations -- on the field and off -- just a little bit, too.
But nobody can know -- not Kaepernick, not Jed York -- how and whether things have changed due to this investigation.
This is what Harbaugh said about Kaepernick last month at the NFL meetings:
"One of the brightest quarterbacks I've ever been around. And he's got a work ethic that's uncommon.
So you know he's just going to progress and just get better and better. So that's where we are... And he's a very young, young gifted player, talented smart, really got it all.
So the sooner we can sign him to a contract that's long-term, extended, the better for our organization. And to put that into a win-win, where it's a win for Colin, a win for us, the sooner the better, absolutely.
But understanding that there's a process to it and that'll play out."