What began as an impassioned stance from Ravens coach John Harbaugh about the officiating in their preseason opener turned into Harbaugh railing against government inaction and saying the United States should tighten up its borders in a speech he equated to that of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
"I’m going Trump here," Harbaugh told reporters after the Ravens’ practice Saturday. “Build the wall. If you don’t have a border, you don’t have a country. You’re not a country without a border, right?
“At the same time, you’ve got 12-15 million hard-working people here. Give them a shot. Give them a chance to become a citizen so they’re paying taxes. All of us know that it’s not that complicated, but this side doesn’t want to solve it, neither does [the other] side. Neither one of them want to solve the problem. Solve the problem.”
That political message came after Harbaugh was asked about what he didn’t like about the team’s 30-27 win over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday, and he said the officials were “very rusty” because they’re only allowed to work three training camp practices.
Harbaugh said he has proposed to the league that officials work practices throughout training camp, and while NFL officials will blame the officials’ union, the referees themselves say they want to do it.
“Gosh, you’re doing something at the highest level possible,” Harbaugh said. “You’re at the top of your field, you’d think you’d need more than three days of practice a year to really be good at it. So I don’t think it’s a very outrageous thing to ask for. Both sides want it, so maybe they ought to start talking to one another — maybe like our government, too.”
That’s when Harbaugh got political, while calling back to a memorable training camp moment in which he implored the practice officials to do a better job because they were getting lunch and getting paid.
“Maybe talk to one another, solve a problem once in a while instead of creating a problem,” Harbaugh said. “Be more concerned about the country than you are your party. How about we do that? Let’s try to fix things around here in this country. That’s what made us great. … They get free lunch at the Capitol, too. Congress, they probably get free lunch there, too. Go eat your free lunch, then go sit in your corner and don’t solve anything. And who suffers? All of us suffer, because they can’t get along.”