Jim Harbaugh won’t stop a player from skipping a bowl game, but he does think such a decision could tarnish a player’s legacy.
The Michigan Wolverines head coach joined the “Pardon My Take” podcast on Barstool Sports for an episode published on Monday. During his interview with hosts Big Cat and PFT Commenter, Harbaugh was asked for his thoughts on players skipping bowl games. While he understands such a decision, he thinks it goes against the competitive nature of being an athlete.
“Yeah, I do, and I think it hurts somebody’s actual legacy, too, just what they’re about,” Harbaugh said when asked whether players skipping bowl games hurts the sport. “A competitor is going to compete; they’re going to go out there and compete. Everybody talks about it — they’re a competitor, I’m a competitor, ‘I’ll compete at everything. I’ll compete at golf or I’ll compete at Tiddlywinks.’ You hear people say that all the time, but then they don’t go actually play in a football game.”
Harbaugh then brought up the Ted Williams 1941 story to augment his point. Williams is the last MLB player to bat .400 in a season and did so by batting .406 in 1941. Part of the legend of the story is how Williams did it. Williams was 179-for-448 on the season entering the final day, which was a .39955 batting average — barely rounding up to .400. He could have sat out the final day and entered the books as a .400 hitter rounded up. Instead, Williams played in both games of a doubleheader on the final day and went 6-for-8 to raise his average to .406.