Jim Harbaugh has named former 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick as honorary captain of Michigan’s spring recreation this upcoming weekend, making waves throughout the nationwide CFB fandom by taking what seems to be a fairly stable pro-Kap stance in a decidedly anti-Kap sport.
After protesting in opposition to racial injustice in the US by taking a knee throughout the nationwide anthem in 2016, there was an unofficial NFL-wide freeze in opposition to hiring him. He has remained iced out of the league ever since, regardless of Kaepernick’s public statements that he has been working to stay in NFL-level form in case a crew is able to signal him.
And whereas folks can argue that Harbaugh isn’t taking a political stance in inviting Kap to the Maize and Blue recreation, as Kaepernick was Harbaugh’s QB with the 49ers between 2011 and 2014 and even reached a Tremendous Bowl collectively, the continuing shun and continued ire in opposition to Kaepernick from NFL followers and entrance places of work alike makes it a political assertion by nature.
An expert relationship is the inspiration of the invitation, little question, however it’s an enormous deal for Harbaugh to make this name, significantly given his historical past and present connections to the NFL. It could be silly to fake it’s not. He’s publicly difficult the league’s worst-kept secret that’s front-and-heart of the general public eye, as Michigan comes off a top-5 end to their season. Other than assembly with the gamers, the previous 49ers QB may even have a throwing 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, following the homicide of George Floyd, Harbaugh attended an anti-police brutality protest in Ann Arbor alongside a number of assistant coaches. He’s been a vocal supporter of the identical points that Kaepernick took a lot warmth for protesting about, and it’s no mere 49ers coincidence that he would select this second to ask Kap to be an honorary captain at a public occasion for the Wolverines.