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Michigan assistant salutes Harbaugh family’s impact on black coaches, QBs

Colin Kaepernick's former coach, Jim Harbaugh, discusses his focus on the George Floyd case and his talks with Kaepernick.

Michigan offensive coordinator Josh Gattis tweeted a statement Monday night, but it was unlike any other statement issued thus far.

Gattis expressed his appreciation to the Harbaugh family for the impact they have had on black coaches and black quarterbacks.

“In challenging times of racial inequality and injustice I am even more thankful for the Harbaugh Family!” Gattis said. “I am proud to work for a family that has committed their life to equality and created so many opportunities for African-Americans in football. Beyond the Rooney family, I consider the impact that the Harbaugh family has had on many of us African-American coaches and players to create opportunities to make an impact in the game we love. Dating back to the days where Jack Harbaugh led teams to championships with a black quarterback in Willie Taggart, to Jim winning conference/division championships with black quarterbacks, Josh Johnson & Colin Kaepernick, to John now leading a franchise with a MVP quarterback who is also black in Lamar Jackson.

“Some may look at the impact the Harbaugh family has had and say they were just players. However, without the Harbaugh family, opportunities given to coaches in positions of power like myself would not exist! The fairness and promotion of black coaches in leadership roles like David Shaw, Derek Mason, Willie Taggart, Jim Caldwell, Pep Hamilton, myself, and so many others would not exist today. Jim Harbaugh is a head coach that does more than just teach you on the field. He is involved with our government, working to provide legal aid for all citizens, and has worked hand-in-hand with Michelle & Barack Obama on many initiatives that make a difference in the lives of so many young people today.

“In challenging times like today, I salute the Harbaugh family not for the job I have but the jobs and opportunities they continue to provide for those who look like me! Thank you for us all!”

Three of the 14 black coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision -- Shaw, Mason and Taggart -- were former assistants for Jim Harbaugh.

Jim Harbaugh went on The Rich Eisen Show last week and said he maintains contact with Kaepernick. Harbaugh said everyone now should understand why Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem. It was never about the flag.

“This is why he knelt,” Harbaugh said. “If you didn’t know then, you know now. That spoke volumes I thought.”