Colin Kaepernick. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Colin Kaepernick. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Jim Harbaugh calls Colin Kaepernick ‘a hero’

By Mark Snyder | Detroit Free Press

Not long after the words left his mouth, Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh was re-evaluating.

As the former coach of Colin Kaepernick with the San Francisco 49ers, Harbaugh had been asked last fall about the player’s famous protests of the national anthem and said: “I don’t respect the motivation or the action.”

He tweeted later that afternoon that he actually respected the motivation, but the action bothered him.

After Kaepernick hit the news, a number of Michigan players held their own protest by raising their fists during the anthem.

Now Harbaugh is reflecting again on the situation, according to a conversation with’s Michael Rosenberg.

“It wasn’t a distraction, because we were listening to what [the players] were saying,” Harbaugh told SI. “And they had a valid point. And they continue to have a valid point.”

That was part of his emphatic defense of Kaepernick in the SI piece examining why the quarterback is still looking for a job. Harbaugh has always spoken about Kaepernick in reverential tones, citing his dedication and work ethic.

Kaepernick and Harbaugh helped each other get to the Super Bowl in the 2012 season.

“Now that they’ve had a chance to reflect on Ferguson, [Mo.], one of the real culprits were the fines and fees they were putting on low-income Americans, [that] 48 states have been implementing on all of us, all Americans,” Harbaugh told SI. “For Colin, and what Colin’s doing and has been doing, when you really stop and listen and know where Colin is coming from … he’s trying to do this for his future kids, for my kids, for all of our kids. He’s a special person and a hero, in my opinion.”

Calling Kaepernick a hero might bother those who objected to the pregame protests. But Harbaugh has been consistent recently.

“I love Colin Kaepernick, I love his family and I just appreciate what he’s done for the game of football, what he has done, what he continues to do and what he’s done for our country,” Harbaugh said this week on the “Rich Eisen Show.” “He’s a very special man.”

Harbaugh made his pitch to give Kaepernick a shot with a new team.

“I also think he is one of the very best quarterbacks in the National Football League,” Harbaugh said on the show. “His leverage isn’t super high right now, but remember, he played on a team last year that struggled mightily. He strapped it on every single game. He doesn’t get hurt. When the bell’s rung, Colin Kaepernick answers. … No doubt in my mind he’ll be on a team, whether it’s closer to the draft or right after the draft. … I know that he’s preparing like a madman. And he will be in tremendous shape and ready to go when he reports to camp.”

Harbaugh also gave a little more background on his ongoing cause to support underprivileged legal aid, the topic that caused him to tweet about President Trump’s proposed budget cuts.

“Somebody is trying to make a foreclosure on you, an unlawful foreclosure,” Harbaugh said. “You don’t know where to go. You don’t have legal representation. Do you even know how to access the form to make a grievance? … [Or] if you are a woman who is being battered and abused, in some courts, you have to pay $500 to get a divorce. Maybe you don’t have $500. How do you get a restraining order against somebody who is doing you bodily harm, without representation? It’s hard to know where to start to do that. If you don’t know how to do it or you’re not successful or you don’t have the means, then the person finds out, it can be life-threatening. That’s what civil legal representation can provide. Somebody who has money has access.”

Colin KaepernickJim HarbaughNFLSan Francisco 49ersUniversity of Michigan

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