My best guess is that 80% of my Twitter feed is dedicated to the San Francisco 49ers. My own tweets, followers, and those that I follow easily account for a high majority of my purpose on the social media site. I feverishly check Twitter for updates on the 49ers consistently through each and every day. So it was quite the shock to my system this past Friday when I tried to sort out this whole 49ers and Cleveland Browns saga that involved Jim Harbaugh.
I don’t why I follow social media websites during the off season. It’s almost intolerable. Speculation and fodder run rampant. Mock Drafts litter every sports website with a “best guess” who will be drafted by each team. I get it. It’s fun for some. Well, apparently it’s fun for a lot more than some. But what a complete, absolute waste of time! Here’s my interpretation of what goes on in the preceding months to the NFL Draft.
National Scribe: “Oh, so and so ran really fast.”
Fan: “Wow that’s fast! I hope my team drafts him.”
National Scribe: “So and so has had multiple conversations with this team.”
Fan: “My team has the 27th pick, we’ll get him for sure.”
Repeat it with me. It’s speculative crap. It holds zero validity.
Which brings me to my point in this whole Jim Harbaugh song and dance, take all this for what it’s worth. Read everything if you wish. I sure do. But before you hit that retweet button or share it through other forms of social media and create a massive snowball effect of speculation, understand what you’re putting out there.
A guy like Mike Florio, the man who dropped this Harbaugh and the Browns story, has sources. He has sources that he trusts more than others. If he puts out a story with an “unnamed source” it loses credibility. If he attempts to validate his story by going to Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, an owner under federal investigation with his Pilot Flying J Travel Centers, it loses more credibility. If he continually back tracks by putting forth articles asking the reader to sort out semantics on quoted words, he loses even more credibility. Like every writer out there that’s earning a living, Florio has an agenda. He wants readers. He wants views on his articles, on his website, and everything that goes with it.
It doesn’t make him right. It doesn’t necessarily make him wrong either. Highly reputable writers are wrong all the time. In my experience with reading (sarcasm intended), telling an experienced writer he/she is wrong is a self-admittance of lunacy. But yes, it happens. Sources can be unreliable. A source can be untrustworthy. A source can lie and even hold his/her own agenda. It’s possible a writer could hold the same values. That’s the risk one takes when a writer takes an adamant stance on a story. It opens them up to criticism from their peers. And peer pressure, even inadvertent peer pressure, is way more influential than that from an every-day Joe like me. When other national writers begin to call into question the overall accuracy of a story, it makes the writer awfully defensive.
All of this finger pointing and he said/she said business clearly explains one thing. It’s the NFL off season. It’s a perfect time to ruminate the interest of us fans. And to this guy, that’s exactly what this Jim Harbaugh story represents. We don’t know what either front office, Cleveland or San Francisco, really did. We won’t either. It doesn’t matter what either side “really” said, because the whole truth will not come out. But, Mike Florio’s article served its purpose. It got one hellacious response from the 49ers Faithful and beyond.
If you peel away the layers saturated in hypothetical, you’ll realize that there’s no way in God’s green earth that the 49ers would trade Jim Harbaugh, no matter how difficult he really is, for draft picks. This is the same Jim Harbaugh that led the San Francisco 49ers out of the doldrums that existed before his arrival. And they’d trade him for draft picks? Seriously? How many picks in one draft is considered a monopoly? It must be more than the 12 that the 49ers currently have.
This whole debacle has become a story, because there are a lack of stories. It’s the perfect time to put it out there too. Jim Harbaugh has been tremendously successful, he deserves a raise, and as mentioned before, it’s the off season. But just because it was written, doesn’t make it credible, and there appears to be a ton of underlying issues within this story. It’s our task as readers and fans to sort through those issues. Because if we don’t, we’re playing right into the hands of those formulating fiction into fact anyway they can.