Today was the first of the two Big Ten Media Days 2022, an event which basically consists of coaches and players talking to reporters, for hours on end, but almost never saying anything newsworthy. The final coach to speak on dais, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh, has actually had a lot to say, on issues that greatly transcend football, but he didn’t say anything truly worthwhile during his time at the podium.
He actually uttered the phrase “we’re going to know who the best players are by who plays the best,” which has to make one wonder about his mental health.
It was over the weekend, during an exclusive with ESPN (which was published this morning) where Jim Harbaugh reiterated his strong anti-abortion stance.
The previous weekend Harbaugh spoke at an anti-choice rights fundraising event in Michigan, where he said “we’ll raise that baby” should someone in his family or the Michigan college football program be involved with an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy.
“I’ve told [them] the same thing I tell my kids, boys, the girls, same thing I tell our players, our staff members,” the coach of the defending Big Ten champions said to ESPN.
With Jim Harbaugh coming out strong against women’s healthcare rights, I hope someone in the #B1GMediaDays room asks him about it.
(don’t use the term “pro-life,” plays right into his hands)
Harbaugh speaks at 11:30-11:45am cst and it will be televised on BTN
— Paul M. Banks (@PaulMBanks) July 26, 2022
“I encourage them if they have a pregnancy that wasn’t planned, to go through with it, go through with it. Let that unborn child be born, and if at that time, you don’t feel like you can care for it, you don’t have the means or the wherewithal, then Sarah and I will take that baby.”
Harbaugh’s wife, Sarah, also spoke at last week’s anti-reproductive rights event in Plymouth, Michigan.
You can’t say that Jim Harbaugh isn’t making a bold statement here.
Whether or not he backs that up with action remains to be seen. If he really is serious about taking in any and all unwanted infants (and we’re not saying he is), well there are thousands of children, in the state of Michigan alone, who need foster homes right now!
(It was also strange that Harbaugh included the phrase “the biological clock is ticking,” with no real context, in his opening statement at the podium this afternoon).
You also can’t say that Harbaugh is “doubling down” on his anti-abortion stance, because he’s made his views known at least twice or thrice before. Look at this quote below:
Just a reminder that Jim Harbaugh said COVID-19 was God’s punishment for abortion lol. no one should be surprised. pic.twitter.com/hhCOigA1Qj
— Alex Insdorf (@alexinsdorf99) July 19, 2022
Not to mention that at the Plymouth, MI event last week he stated “have the courage to let the unborn be born.” So it’s more like tripling or quadrupling down. Jim Harbaugh has the right to hold these views, and to express them publicly. Yes, even if an overwhelming majority of Americans stand on the opposite side of where the UM Coach does. And yes, despite the fact that somehow a lot, if not most, sports fans are somehow unaware of where Harbaugh stands in this issue.
What he does not have right to is imposing his beliefs upon others. The American founding fathers established the principle of separation of church and state in the U.S. Constitution. Why? For the expressed purpose of avoiding a replication of the wars of religion that ravaged Europe prior to America’s founding.
Jim Harbaugh is a self-proclaimed devout Catholic, but he has strongly allied himself with those who strive to impose their beliefs upon others (or some would call it “legislating morality,” and that is un-American.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and he co-hosts the After Extra Time podcast, part of Edge of the Crowd Network. Follow him and the website on Twitter and Instagram.