Time magazine unveiled their list of the 100 most influential people in America, and it is not surprising that now former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is on the list. They do not rank out the people, but rather drop them in groups. The groups include pioneers, artists, leaders, titans, and icons. Kaepernick is included in the icons list.
Time had someone connected to the person write up a few paragraphs on the individual. Kaepernick’s piece was written by Jim Harbaugh. His former head coach talked about how he “boldly and courageously confronted perceived inequalities in our social-justice system.” He also said that “[Kaepernick’s] willingness to take a position at personal cost is now part of our American story.”
When Kaepernick first began his Anthem protest, Harbaugh reacted negatively. He initially said he respected his right to protest, but did not respect the motivation or his specific action. Shortly after that, he said he respects his motivation but took exception to the specific action.
In the months since, Harbaugh has been asked about Kaepernick, and he has offered more praise. In late March, SI writer Mike Rosenberg put together an excellent article about Colin Kaepernick and why he had not been signed. He spoke with Jim Harbaugh as part of that article, and the Michigan head coach spoke about taking time to really think about it and better understand Kaepernick’s protest.
It is not surprising then that Harbaugh would be there to offer up his thoughts for this kind of honor.
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.