SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KRON) — Minnesota Vikings rookie safety Camryn Bynum was on the visiting side when his team came into Levi’s Stadium on Nov. 28 against the San Francisco 49ers.
The Vikings lost 34-26, but Bynum might have won the award for biggest crowd support out of any player on either team.
Approximately 200 combined friends and family — some as far as Hawaii, New York, Detroit — came to Santa Clara and supported Bynum, according to his mother Jennifer.
Bynum is originally from Corona in Southern California but played college football at UC Berkeley where he led the program in passes defensed and pass breakups for three seasons from 2017-19.
Two of the top 10 most Filipino-populated U.S. cities are in the Bay Area: San Francisco and San Jose, according to Pew Research Center.
On Nov. 28, Bynum returned to an area that is tied to his family and his heritage.
Proudly representing his Filipino heritage
Bynum is one of few Filipino-Americans playing in the NFL.
His mother Jennifer is a third-generation Filipino-American and grew up in San Francisco.
Pictures from the tailgate and inside the stadium show Bynum’s family representing their Filipino heritage.
“Just to hold that (Philippines) flag up high has meant a lot to our family,” Jennifer said. “Definitely means a lot because there are few Filipinos in the NFL or NBA or any national sport.”
Bynum’s mother’s side garnered roughly 150 of the 200 in attendance. She has the larger side of the family as her father had 13 siblings.
The family was already on the hunt for tickets when the schedule was released: the Vikings will come to the Bay Area to face the 49ers in Week 12.
However, there was no guarantee Bynum, the fourth round (125th overall) pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, was going to be on the 53-man roster by then.
The family did not care.
They had faith Bynum was going to be on the roster and were getting tickets no matter what.
Bynum was on the roster by then but ended up not playing in the game due to injury.
But just to see their guy on an NFL field as a professional was enough for the family to be proud.
“We knew he wasn’t going to play that week,” Jennifer said. “We just can’t wait to see him out there, period. So it’s a proud moment for all of our family and friends.”
Section 202 belonged to the Bynum fan club
A California native in his first year in the NFL has a game scheduled near the area where he played college football and in the area where a lot of his family is from — the only one of the entire year.
It’s not hard to imagine that there will be a high demand for tickets coming from Bynum’s friends and family — including some of his old teammates, tutors, and professors at UC Berkeley.
The demand was so high the 49ers’ ticket office couldn’t accommodate the family’s request, according to Bynum’s mother.
Some had to sit apart from the group in other sections.
Not only were some family members divided seating-wise, but they were also divided on which team to root for.
Cheer on your hometown team or the opposing team Bynum plays for?
The divide was evident in the family photos taken — some donning 49ers gear, Vikings purple, and even Cal gear where Bynum played his college ball.
Some ended up supporting both.
Jennifer’s side of the family are huge 49er fans, so the decision to wear 49ers or Vikings gear wasn’t an easy one.
When Bynum’s grandmother died, the family got a tile dedicated to her memory at the place where the 49ers call home.
The game was a monumental event for the family.
Bynum has played in five games this season.
His best game came on Nov. 7 against the Baltimore Ravens when he recorded a career-high 12 tackles and notched his first career interception when he made a diving play to pick off 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson.
Last Sunday was a major event of Bynum’s support group coming together for his lone game in California.