In the 48 hours since the San Francisco 49ers and Jim Harbaugh "mutually agreed to part ways", it has been a torrent of anger about the handling of the whole situation. CEO Jed York and general manager Trent Baalke met with the media on Monday, and the transcript involved plenty of deflection as to why the two sides parted ways. York spoke with KNBR this morning on the Murph & Mac Show, and it featured more of the stonewalling. You can listen to the KNBR interview HERE, and read the press conference transcript HERE.
Initially I was annoyed by the repetition of talking points. But after thinking it over, it seems like the final "settlement" that resulted in Jim Harbaugh's departure included some kind of confidentiality agreement. On Monday, Trent Baalke spoke with Damon Bruce for his weekly radio segment, and he said "And the mutual parting on both sides was asked to be confidential." Jed York has said the discussions were private and he would not share them.
Given the high profile nature of this situation, I find it hard to believe they just verbally agreed to not talk about it, and that was that. It is certainly possible that is the case, but given how stiffly York and Baalke have stuck to these very specific talking points, I am inclined to believe there was something more formal. The 49ers let Harbaugh out of his contract, and all reports since indicate they were not going to require any sort of compensation, even if he were to go to another NFL team. We will probably never get a formal confirmation of a confidentiality agreement, but I think that is the case.
And with that in mind, it has made it easier for me today to sort of move past the fact that we will never get a straight answer on this situation. Or at least, not for many years, until we read the unauthorized biography of Jim Harbaugh, or see the 30 for 30 on this whole mess.
I do believe Jim Harbaugh's loyalty to Greg Roman played a role in this. I have heard as much from a couple different sources. That would go towards "philosophical differences" as it relates to football. And I actually can see how this was a mutual parting of the ways. They mutually did not like each other, and so they decided to end the relationship. We won't get any more specifics, and that leaves a void that fans fill with rage.
It is a shame, but at some point we need to move on and look to the future (as Trent Baalke says!). It feels helpless at times, but all we can really hope for is that Jed York learns from this. We're left with a very long wait until September to see how this thing even begins to shake out.