One of the hardest parts of publicly advocating for MH, is you have to make the decision as to whether to call out comments/actions that halt or move progress backwards, even when those comments/actions come from an entity you’ve worked w in the past.
I tried to share some of what’s been discussed over the past 24+ hours, related to comments from U Mich’s Head Football Coach, Jim Harbaugh, on our Instagram.
University of Michigan has one of the most highly regarded MH programs in the country. The # of staff & the quality of staff is top notch. Going back many yrs, players like Tom Brady credit Michigan’s program & attitude towards MH (before it was ever a hot topic), for their own health/success. Our own organization, WAALC did a #SameHere Sit-Down in Ann Arbor.
Harbaugh on a talk show, made comments about players transferring & using MH as an excuse – given the NCAA’s transfer rules.
Does this happen? Sure. Any time you can take action based on something that can’t be 100% proven, do ppl take advantage of the “system”? Yes. That said, it’s the exception, not the rule, & Harbaugh’s comments came out after word that one of his player’s attempted transfer for MH reasons. That player’s mom claims she tried to bring her son’s MH up w the coach & assistant & was shut down.
We don’t know what happened w the mom & coach 100%. But, we do know what happened w Harbaugh’s public words, & there is no denying they set back the movement of players being able to be open. Had he said something like: “MH is a very serious topic & we as coaches have to do everything to make sure our kids are healthy. That said, in the RARE cases a player may take advantage of the opportunity to transfer in a misleading way…” we’d have been better w his stance.
Bottom line, words matter. Michigan has an incredible MH program, & those efforts & the efforts of all who advocate for MH progress & change took a big hit w someone in such a big position using these words. Check out some of the negative comments in his defense on upcoming slides. A ways to go.