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Harbaugh, Schwartz And The Back Slap Heard 'Round The NFL

This hard handshake and sharp slap on the back:

Led to this on-field brouhaha after Sunday's NFL game between the San Francisco 49ers (the winning team) and Detroit Lions.

It seems that the slappee (Lions coach Jim Schwartz) took offense at the exuberance of the slapper (49ers coach Jim Harbaugh). And then the two of them, in the eyes of Detroit Free Press columnist Drew Sharp and other sports talkers, made fools of themselves. Some expletives were exchanged. Later, Harbaugh said he hadn't meant to offend Schwartz. "That was on me a little; too hard a handshake there," he said. The NFL, of course, is investigating.

How are coaches supposed to behalf after a game? NFL.com has posted this video about "handshake etiquette." Former NFL coach Steve Mariucci shows how it should be done and says "it's very important that we show the world that we are professionals [and] that we show good sportsmanship because we expect it out of our kids, we expect it out of our other coaches and our players."

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Mark Memmott
Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.