Times magazine featured Colin Kaepernick in its “The Most 100 Influential People,” and Jim Harbaugh penned the passage highlighting why he earned that spot.
Harbaugh and Kaepernick were tied at the hip during their tenures with the San Francisco 49ers. The coach was the main reason the 49ers drafted the former Nevada star, and he helped craft Kaepernick into one of the NFL’s most dangerous offensive weapons before the wheels came off in San Francisco and Harbaugh was jettisoned from the organization.
The current Michigan coach has come to Kaepernick’s defense on numerous occasions when other have criticized his former pupil. His loyalty can also be seen in the passage he wrote for Times about Kaepernick.
“Colin Kaepernick was alone in his early protests last year when he boldly and courageously confronted perceived inequalities in our social-justice system by refusing to stand for the national anthem,” Harbaugh wrote. “At times in our nation’s history, we have been all too quick to judge and oppose our fellow Americans for exercising their First Amendment right to address things they believe unjust.
“Rather than besmirch their character, we must celebrate their act. For we cannot pioneer and invent if we are fearful of deviating from the norm, damaging our public perception or—most important—harming our own personal interests.
“I thank Colin for all he has contributed to the game of football as an outstanding player and trusted teammate. I also applaud Colin for the courage he has demonstrated in exercising his guaranteed right of free speech. His willingness to take a position at personal cost is now part of our American story.
“How lucky for us all and for our country to have among our citizens someone as remarkable as Colin Kaepernick.”
Since Kaepernick began his protest last year, he’s been a polarizing figure in America — people either seem to stand fully behind him or feel compelled to excoriate him for his anthem protest.
To date, the former 49ers quarterback has remained jobless since opting out of his contract with San Francisco. Many in the NFL feel he’s being blackballed and that owners are frightened of the backlash that would come if they hire him.
That hasn’t stopped Kaepernick from his charitable work. He continues to use his resources and influence to help those in need and doesn’t seem concerned about the lack of employment.