Twitter started out so well for Jed York. He was a young, innovative CEO who connected with fans via the social network in ways that screamed, “Hey guys, I’m in my early 30s. I’m hip and with it!” Some fans probably even thought he was “cool” … compared to other NFL owners, anyway … when the 49ers were winning. York clearly enjoyed himself online — via a simple tweet he could give tickets to the “faithful,” respond to rumors, promote the team, or celebrate wins with the masses.
After the way the last year has gone, it’s amazing that York hasn’t deleted his account. The responses from fans range from combative to vitriolic, and a former high-profile employee keeps sticking it to him in ways York couldn’t/shouldn’t match. And, on New Year’s Day, the quarterback York once called an “absolute stud” joined in on the fun.
The Michigan Wolverines finished 5-7 a year ago. They’ll probably finish in the top-10 this season after a 41-7 Citrus Bowl rout over the Florida Gators. Harbaugh doubled the team’s win total, in the process collecting twice as many wins as the 49ers under Jim Tomsula in 2015 — and that’s if the Niners figure out a way to beat the Rams on Sunday.
Jim Harbaugh will receive the lion’s share of the credit for UM’s remarkable turnaround, as well he should. They went from scoring 20.9 points per game and allowing 22.4 in 2014 to scoring 31.4 ppg while giving up 16.4 this season. One person who congratulated Harbaugh today was the quarterback who led the 49ers to a 29-16 record (including playoffs) while Harbaugh was around, then lost his starting job after the 49ers went 2-6 in the first eight games after Harbaugh’s “mutual” parting of ways with the 49ers.
Congrats @CoachJim4UM for the 10 win season and the huge bowl victory!
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) January 1, 2016
Harbaugh is a national celebrity, so he receives tweets of all kinds constantly, including thousands of similar messages from Michigan fans. But for whatever reason, Harbaugh chose to acknowledge Kaepernick’s kind words.
Thanks, Kap! Much appreciated, means a lot! All the best in 2016! https://t.co/0pVMSZWedZ
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) January 1, 2016
Harbaugh has found ways to “subtweet” the 49ers several times in the past.
Congrats to Bears, Raiders, Bills, Great Coaches and men, John Fox, Jack Del Rio, Rex! And Home Run hires Vic Fangio, Brad Seely, Greg Roman
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) January 21, 2015
Thought of the day – What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive! – Sir Walter Scott
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) February 7, 2015
Thought of the day – As my esteemed associate and Friend The Great Frank Gore has taught me & tells me “These haters can’t hold me back”
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) February 10, 2015
Only the 1st days of spring practice could keep me from attending the DeBartolo Family Gala Thanks for the invite Eddie! Have a great night!
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) February 28, 2015
And who could blame him, considering his boss hung him out to dry two Thanksgivings ago on the very same platform?
Thank you #49ersfaithful for coming out strong tonight. This performance wasn’t acceptable. I apologize for that
— Jed York (@JedYork) November 28, 2014
But this is kind of new ground for Kaepernick. He used to clumsily tweet hashtags like #7stormsComing, and recently morphed into a socially conscious Instagram user who questioned Donald Trump’s intolerant stance on Muslims multiple times. But he’s been quiet about the 49ers, despite the team’s insistence that he would be in some sort of danger if he dared to stand on the sideline while recovering from surgery for a torn labrum.
Considering the sensitivity, defensiveness and paranoia of the front office, Kaepernick’s message to his former coach will certainly be seen as outright insubordination. He obviously doesn’t care, nor should he. In fact, Kaepernick probably sees how Harbaugh responded to getting the scapegoat treatment — with a program-changing season that earned him the love of millions of appreciative fans — and dreams of enjoying a similar type of revenge season elsewhere in the not-too-distant future.
And as we look forward to an interesting 2016, which should include a York press conference sometime next week, one can only imagine the Boy Prince’s reaction to all of this.
— Harbaugh’s fantastic season (after not much time to recruit), which could’ve been even greater if not for a failed punt that gave Michigan State a last-second miracle victory, has to sting.
— Harbaugh’s Citrus Bowl triumph, a win that has him poised to lead the Wolverines to a Final Four bid next season, indicates that York’s decision to jettison the winningest coach during his family’s reign of error will continue to spark questions.
— Kaepernick’s decision to thumb his nose at the whole operation — after the coaching changes, the roster gutting, and the public smearing from York’s hand-picked announcing crew — adds more than a pinch of salt to York’s already-wounded ego.