Back before anyone thought he would win the election, Paul Finebaum called Jim Harbaugh the Donald Trump of college football.
Judge that comment however you wish, but Harbaugh did a very Trump-ian thing on Thursday night, firing off a Twitter burn at a media enemy.
First, the backstory.
Finebaum appeared on ESPN’s Outside the Lines alongside author and Michigan insider John Bacon to debate Michigan’s hiring of California high school coach Michael Johnson, who just so happens to be the father of a prized 2019 quarterback recruit. Harbaugh is far from the first coach to make such a hire, but the first to do so in such a Harbaughian way.
“This is wrong,” Finebaum said. “It may not be illegal by NCAA standards and bylaws as of this moment, but to me it’s cheating. It’s blatantly disregarding the spirit of the NCAA rule. We all know why he’s doing it. And this is the same person who last year accused Nick Saban of cheating, he accused Hugh Freeze of cheating, and in my mind, and I know you can’t prove it and he won’t be penalized for it, but he’s cheating and why don’t we just face up to it? There’s no other reason why he would hire this man. It’s been done in the past… but it’s still wrong. I don’t know why the media celebrates Jim Harbaugh for disregarding the NCAA rule book and doing things that are in my mind unethical.”
(For what it’s worth, Finebaum also had Bacon on his radio show Thursday and shared none of these takes. He was completely complimentary of Harbaugh.)
Calling him by the wrong name — which was 100 percent intentional, in a way your friends pretended not to know whether Justin Timberlake was in Backstreet Boys or NSync — Harbaugh told Paul Finebaum, “the unabashed SEC water carrier,” to “get his facts straight.” He then tagged the tweet with an #AlternativeFacts hashtag.
Pete Finebaum, the unabashed SEC water carrier, really needs to get his facts straight. #AlternativeFacts
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) February 17, 2017
Much like his SEC Media Days beef with Nick Saban last summer, any warring of words between Finebaum and a powerful coach ends with Finebaum winning by losing.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) February 17, 2017