Big Ten

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh pens glowing Time 100 blurb for Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick has been a divisive figure over the past year. One person squarely on the pro-Kaepernick side, though, is his former coach, Jim Harbaugh.

Kaepernick was named to Time's list of the 100 most influential people, and in the tradition of celebrities writing the blurbs for each honoree, Kaepernick's short profile was penned by Harbaugh, the current coach at Michigan and former coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

Harbaugh, who coached Kaepernick for four seasons and oversaw Kaepernick leading the team to Super Bowl XLVII, wrote a glowing and frankly excellent assessment of Kaepernick and his actions protesting during the national anthem.

Here's what Harbaugh wrote:

"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. 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."

Harbaugh has shown little shyness when it comes to stepping into the spotlight over hot-button issues, a trait not necessarily common in college football coaches looking to offend no one — except for the referees they scream at every Saturday.

Harbaugh visited the White House multiple times during Barack Obama's presidency and attended a rally featuring Obama stumping for Hillary Clinton on the University of Michigan campus during the lead-up to last year's presidential election. He's also tweeted his opinion about a specific government program.