Former 49ers coach and current Michigan coach and inevitable future NFL coach again Jim Harbaugh is great at what he does because he’s a great competitor. The only problem is that everything with Harbaugh is a competition. Including press conferences.
For Harbaugh, a press conference often isn’t about answering questions or being cooperative. It’s about getting a victory, however he characterizes it. On Monday, the victory entailed not talking about a pair of players who had been suspended by the Michigan football team.
TheBigLead.com has the video. It began when Harbaugh was asked about three players missing from the team photo. Harbaugh said that two of them had been suspended.
Obvious follow-up: Which two?
Response: “We’ll handle that internally.”
Obvious follow-up: How long are the suspensions?
“That’s why I don’t give you any information, ’cause you’re never satisfied,” Harbaugh said. “You want a second question, a third question, a fourth question. I just said we’d handle it internally. Thank you.”
And then he left.
The questions were hardly out of line or asinine. Failure to display the basic curiosity that leads from: (1) where were the three players?; to (2) which two were suspended?; to (3) how long are they suspended? would be evidence of incompetence on the part of the reporters.
Besides, Harbaugh could have declined to answer the questions without getting upset and storming off. Whether he was trying to intimidate the reporters or whether he was blowing off steam or whether he just reacted in the moment without a specific reason, it was odd. And it was compelling. And it makes me look forward to the day when Harbaugh returns to the NFL as a head coach.