Testing Jim Harbaugh's sense of humor

Testing Jim Harbaugh's sense of humor
December 11, 2013, 11:45 pm
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The Jim Harbaugh-to-Texas rumors provided an interesting moment in the head coach's press conference Wednesday. (USATSI)

Matt Barrows, the vicious little hell-elf from the Sacramento Bee who covers the 49ers tried something Wednesday that most people would consider insane – he tried to ask a newsy but whimsical question about the half-baked Texas coaching rumors to Jim Harbaugh. It went about as well as you would have expected, via Barrows’ Twitter account:

“I opened Harbaugh presser with: ‘So, when do you leave for Austin, Texas?’ Harbaugh: ‘Are you trying to be funny?’ Me (chastised): “Trying.”

Wrong answer. Barrows should have responded with “Well, that’s what Kaepernick told me in our one-on-one today.” Opportunity blown.


In other media hijinks, English Pravdaship . . . er, Premiership side Newcastle United has decided to squeeze the turnip of news coverage one twist too far by announcing plans to charge fees for between games’ interviews with players and staff. The club has approached local and national newspapers with an offer of access to players between matches only if they become “media partners” through gold, silver, and bronze packages, each providing a different level of “exclusive” access to players at a different price point.

In addition, the club is fighting an ongoing battle against a regional media group whose three newspapers were banned from covering the team earlier this season after they gave heavy coverage to a fan protest against Newcastle owner Mike Ashley.

Oh no. How are we going to learn of the wacky midweek doings of Yoan Gouffron. Or Alan Pardew's favorite holiday yam recipes? Answer: We won't, and less is the pity.


Truth is hard to come by in sport, so you have to seize it where you can. As NCAA president Mark Emmert is trying to see if he can give the big five conferences more independence in finances and player payments, he is getting the usual level of snapback from the smaller schools in the group who see this as more erosion of the old relationship where everyone shared the NCAA’s bounty more or less equally. So of course Big 10 president Jim Delany, who never met a quarter he wouldn’t dive into a pool full of moray eels to retrieve, spoke out about the smaller schools’ attempts to maintain the status quo. “What's really hard in these kinds of things is for people to vote themselves less political authority,” he said Wednesday. “They don't do that. That's not a natural thing to do.”

This is what we in the culinary business call the cauldron calling the teaspoon a sauce-bearing utensil.


And while we’re talking cooking, Washington power chef David Chang told DCSportsBog’s associate provocateur Sarah Kogod that after failing to jumpstart a fundraising campaign, he’d still love to figure a way to buy the Washington Football Thingies from Danny Snyder.

“It just shows you how upset people are,” Chang said of the people who pledged money before the scheme was halted. “If you live in D.C., it ruins your week. It’s all people talk about. I grew up watching Joe Gibbs, and everyone I know is just really great (Indigenous Humans) fans. Watching the team lately has been really tough on people, and I just think people are tired of Dan Snyder.

“I think now is the time to stop supporting the (Original North Americans), and I know that sounds like a fair-weather fan, but it’s only temporary. If we all do that, we can change the long-term picture.”

In other words, Chang just added five more years onto the Snyder Era. Good work, Spatula Man.


And more Tribal Gentlemen news, in the wake of momentary head coach Mike Shanahan announcing he was going to sit Robert Griffin La Troisième so he could prep for the offseason. John Madden went, well, as nuts as a man in his position can. From Sirius XM :

“When the going goes tough you don’t quit. And you don’t fold up. And you don’t go in the other direction. I think you stay with what you believe you stay with who you are, you stay with what you are. And we have an integrity piece here, too. You can say, ‘Well they’re 3-10, they’re out of it, so now they can do these things.’ No you can’t. This is still regular-season football. Draft order, that’s one small thing, but you still owe it to the people that are playing, that are still in the playoff picture. And when you can affect that and you don’t affect it with an all-out performance, then I think that affects the integrity of the game . . . If you’re in the regular season, there’s only one way to play, and that’s to play your best people to win the game, every regular season game.”

And then he used a coldcut reference to bring it home.

“I mean, you know it’s baloney,” Madden said. “I like Mike Shanahan, and I’m not talking behind his back, but when you say something like that, you know that’s not right — you’re not going to sacrifice regular season games. There’s only 16 of them a year. You’re not going to sacrifice regular season games for an offseason program.”

Well, Madden never worked for a willful and stubborn owner like . . . oh, damn it.


And finally, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Nikita Nikitin told the Russian web site R-Sport that he refuses to learn English because he can always rely on his Russian teammates for on-the-hoof translations. Nikitin has played in the NHL since 2010 but admitted, “My English isn’t getting any better. You always hear Russian speech in the team, although because of that I should admit I don’t learn English. I understand everything I need to, but I can still only speak with difficulty. But there (are) always guys around who give me prompts.”

Well, Nicky, how about this?

Не будь болваном. Такого рода бессмысленные мышления разрушит ваш шанс получить, что пятно синей куртке радиосистемы аналитика вы тайно жаждут.

Or as we like to say, “Don't be a blockhead. That kind of nonsensical thinking will ruin your chance to get that Blue Jacket radio analyst's spot you secretly crave.”

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