Jim Harbaugh named former QB 49ers Colin Kaepernick equal The honorary captain of the spring game in Michigan this coming weekend, making waves across the national CFB community by taking what appears to be a pretty solid pro-Kap stance in a sport decided against Kap.
After protesting racial injustice in the United States by kneeling during the national anthem in 2016, there was an unofficial NFL-wide ban on his recruitment. He has remained out of the league since then, despite Kaepernick’s public statements that he has worked to stay in shape at the NFL level in the event a team is willing to sign him.
And while one could argue that Harbaugh took no political stance in inviting Kap to the Maize and Blue game, since Kaepernick was Harbaugh’s QB with 49 people from 2011 to 2014 and even won a Super Bowl togetheralienation and continued resistance against Kaepernick from NFL fans as well as front offices make it a political statement in nature.
Undoubtedly, professional ties are the cornerstone of the invitation, but Harbaugh’s making this call is a big deal, especially given his history and current relationship with the NFL. It would be stupid to pretend it’s not. He’s publicly challenging the tournament’s worst kept secret which is brazenness-and-center of the public eye, as Michigan topped their season’s top five. In addition to the meeting with the players, the former 49ers QB will also have a pitching exhibition at halftime.
Harbaugh’s history as related to Kap’s activism has taken a carefully developed path. When Kap first made headlines for kneeling in 2016, Harbaugh said, “I acknowledge his right to do that, but I don’t respect the motivation or the action.” Only minutes later, he amended his statement, writing, “To clarify, I support Colin’s motivation. It’s his method of action that I take exception to.”
A year later, he amended his stance yet again, writing in an op-ed for Time Magazine,
“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.”
In 2020, follow After the murder of George Floyd, Harbaugh attended a protest against police brutality in Ann Arbor with several assistant coaches. He’s a strong supporter of the same issues that Kaepernick has opposed so much, and it’s not just the 49ers by chance that he chose this moment to invite Kap to be honorary captain at a public event. declaration for werewolves.