I admit I’ve been waiting for the chance to write this. I knew the chance would come and it would come quickly because of who Jim Harbaugh is and can’t help himself from being.
While I was on Giants duty, an assignment which took me away from the 49ers and their highly articulate head coach, I read on the internet Harbaugh’s response when reporters asked if Alex Smith had lost confidence. He said, and I quote, “gobble, gobble, turkey gobble, gobble, gobble, funk-jive turkey gobblers.”
I have covered many head coaches including the great Bill Walsh who was quite a well-spoken and sophisticated man, but no one I covered approaches Harbaugh for sheer size of vocabulary, nuance of thought and sophistication.
Well, you know I’m being ironic.
Harbaugh’s disdain for the media is his business and if he wants to invoke turkeys to say writers are jive turkeys, that’s his business. I have been called a lot worse than a jive turkey.
It’s just that today Harbaugh addressed reports that Aldon Smith got jumped outside a restaurant. Here is the Q&A that took place at Harbaugh’s Monday presser which I took off the web:
Did you talk to Aldon and are you satisfied with what happened?
HARBAUGH: I personally tend not to believe everything I read on the internet. Trent Baalke talked to Aldon.
Q: Are you fine with what happened?
HARBAUGH: What’s been related to me and any conversations are private conversations.
Q: Are you saying that what was reported is false?
HARBAUGH: No, just exactly how I said it – I tend not to believe everything I read on the internet.
Q: So Aldon’s standing on the team is fine?
HARBAUGH: What Aldon said to us was the same as what he said publicly. You tend to take a man at his word.
OK, that was the Q&A. Now it’s my turn to say, turkey, turkey, gobble, gobble, funk-jive gobbler.
When Harbaugh calls writers gobblers he needs to look in the mirror. He almost never answers a straight question with a straight answer. He makes things hard on himself. He gobbles. Asked if he’s satisfied with what happened with Smith, he refuses to answer. Instead he makes a statement about the internet.
Asked if he’s fine with what happened, he says he doesn’t discuss private stuff, although he’s already begun to discuss it.
Asked if what’s been reported is false, he again says he doesn’t rely on the internet. But again he doesn’t answer the question.
Asked about Smith’s status on the team, he says you tend to take a man at his word. Again he does not answer and the word “tend” invokes all kinds of doubt.
Harbaugh would have been better off saying he did not want to address the subject at all. Journalists understand that. He did not need to do all that gobbling. He may think journalists are gobblers but, come on, he is the King Gobbler, a 200-pound self-baster.