I spoke to several people who attended the 49ers’ “open-to-the-public” practice on Thursday. Jim Harbaugh ran his practice on the field farthest away from the fans which, naturally, made it hard for the fans to see. In addition, many players stood between the fans and the practice — perhaps a coincidence — but that made seeing the practice even more difficult for fans.
You invite fans to a practice and then treat them like that? In my world that is known as bad manners. Since when are bad manners good?
I am intrigued how many Zohn readers defend Harbaugh at any cost. He’s the coach therefore he’s right. He hasn’t lost a game yet, therefore he’s right. He can’t stand the media and he must be right.
At some point this season, you are going to wonder how, say, Vernon Davis looks in practice. We won’t be able to tell you. Why? Because Harbaugh is barring the way.
Harbaugh is giving the media and the fans the minimum in terms of access. He opened the first few weeks of practice only because the league said he had to. Otherwise, I’m sure he would also have closed those practices.
In fairness to Harbaugh, he is like most coaches. The NFL has become a paranoid league, one coach afraid another will find key clues on the internet. Good grief. The Raiders routinely close practices in the regular season, although they will keep practices open as long as they’re in Napa — so the Raiders are more generous than the 49ers in that regard.
One more point. Some readers are down on the media. We’re snoopy. We cause conflict. I know the drill.
We also are your emissaries into the world of football and we give you stories you love to read — you crave. It’s hard to do that when we aren’t allowed to see anything. If it weren’t for the media, the NFL wouldn’t be what it is and Harbaugh would be coaching a semi-pro team in Stockton.
I always have had a skeptical attitude about authority. If authority tells me I can’t do something I wonder why. I ask why. The media keeps the cops honest and the politicians honest and big business honest — at least it tries to. It works in your interest.
Football is not as important as those institutions I just mentioned. But in a sense we in the media keep Harbaugh honest to the extent we can do that. Don’t be so quick to cede to him privileges no other Niner coach has ever claimed before.