Only if Harbaugh came out as gay himself would the use of the word "f**got" be allowed in any catty context.
In sports, there is a long tradition of vulgar, profanity-laced rants against game officials who make calls you don't like.
There is also a long tradition of rampant homophobia, even in a sport where quarterbacks make passes to tight ends looking to score.
Those traditions prompted many to believe a report that Stanford football head coach Jim Harbaugh had indulged in both last weekend in a nationally televised game against Notre Dame, based on the evidence of a YouTube video.
After a mad quarterback scramble netted the Cardinal a first down, the referees called a holding penalty, negating the play.
That set Harbaugh off on what some who watched the video say was the following rant (please excuse all the asterisks): "That's bulls**t. A**hole. F**king a**hole f**got."
Harbaugh coached at the University of San Diego from 2004 until he left for the Stanford job in 2006.
You won't find such classless and tasteless behavior across the Bay at Cal -- Berkeley. I guess only classy people go to Cal games.
I sense some homophilic heckling in the Big Game's future.
Update: Stanford Senior Assistant Athletic Director Jim Young has issued a statement saying Harbaugh denied using any slur. Young admitted Harbaugh used salty language but did not suggest what Harbaugh might have mouthed instead. (Deadspin cheekily suggested "f**ing a**hole fungus.")
Harbaugh also sent the following statement to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation:
"I would like to state unequivocally the alleged anti-gay remark that some have attributed to me did not come from my mouth and any such assertion is hurtful to me, members of my family and the gay community. Those who know me know I never use slurs under any circumstances; the bias reflected by spiteful slurs is simply not in my heart."