Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh talked about his war of words with SEC analyst Paul Finebaum Thursday on the "TK Show" hosted by San Francisco Mercury News beat writer Tim Kawakami.
Finebaum called Harbaugh a cheater for hiring the father of 2019's No. 1 dual-threat quarterback recruit. Michael Johnson was set to join Michigan's staff after resigning as the head coach of The King's Academy in California.
"It may not be illegal by NCAA standards and bylaws as of this moment, but to me, it’s cheating," Finebaum said on ESPN's "Outside the Lines." "It’s blatantly disregarding the spirit of the NCAA rule. We all know why he’s doing it."
Harbaugh responded by blasting Finebaum on Twitter, calling him "Pete" Finebaum and an "unabashed SEC water carrier."
"Pete Finebaum, the unabashed SEC water carrier, really needs to get his facts straight. #AlternativeFacts," Harbaugh tweeted.
Harbaugh turned out to be right. The next morning, it was announced that Johnson had agreed to become the new wide receivers coach at Oregon.
On Thursdsay, Kawakami asked Harbaugh what it's like taking on Finebaum and the entire SEC. Harbaugh said he tries to take the back and forth with a grain of salt and add a little humor.
But it's not all fun and games.
"The annoying part is people who show their true colors and try to impugn your integrity when you've done nothing wrong," Harbaugh told Kawakami. "They just show their colors. They want to impugn your integrity. They want to see you fail, and they want to take shots at you. But as they say, 'No good deed goes unpunished.'"
Harbaugh said his response on Twitter was supposed to add humor, but he's also not planning to let anybody take free shots at him.
"C'mon man, I'm not going to let that go, either," Harbaugh told Kawakami.
Harbaugh said he hasn't made a conscious decision to target the SEC, but that he wants to be a great counter puncher, because the SEC "has attacked us numerous times."
"We've not been the aggressor toward anyone when it comes to shooting one over another person's bow," Harbaugh said.