49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

September 27, 2013
Harbaugh: It's ok for Kaepernick to give in to the Dark Side

"Good. Use your aggressive feelings, boy. Let the hate flow through you." - Emperor

Anyone else get a distinct Return-of-the-Jedi vibe from Jim Harbaugh today when he was talking about Colin Kaepernick and the quarterback's predilection for negative Tweets? If you're not familiar, Kaepernick this week admitted to not only reading but marking as "favorites" some of the nastiest, hate-filled messages directed at him by other Twitter users. And after the Seattle and Indianapolis games, there were quite a few from which to choose.

Harbaugh, meanwhile, was asked if that's a healthy endeavor for a young jedi/quarterback. He channeled his inner-Sith with this response.

"It can be," he said. "Energy is energy. And there's positive energy, there's negative energy. And sometimes a person can get more energy from negative energy. Sometimes that can be a gift. 'Thank You'"

You could practically see Harbaugh reaching for his lightsaber. (I know, I know. The Emperor doesn't have a lightsaber. Please don't send emails).

Harbaugh scholars will note, of course, that this is vintage Harbaugh. He's often talked about his distaste for florid praise, saying his preferred reaction to it is to kick the utterer in the shins. He expanded on that today. "As long as all that's written is written against us, then we feel a certain assurance of success," he said. "If people are heaping flowery words of praise upon you, that means you're exposed before your enemies. ... I'm quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson there."

Since hate can be such a valuable energy resource and because Twitter is such a reservoir of hate, does Harbaugh ever think of dusting off his account? It was wildly popular for a short time when he was at Stanford and gave us such gems as: "I sense opportunity in the air today. I saw the Greek god Kairos racing swiftly across the Stanford field in my dream last night. Be ready!"

(Sports Illustrated wrote a fantastic and oh-so-revealing piece about Harbaugh and Twitter three years ago.)

Harbaugh said Stanford officials encouraged him to use Twitter as a way to communicate with recruits and a young fan base. He said it lasted eight or nine months, then petered out. Why?

"Found it to be a drain of time," Harbaugh said.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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