San Francisco 49ers

Former 49ers coach praises Colin Kaepernick in Time ‘Top 100’ piece

Former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, left, penned an item in Time maganize about the player he drafted in 2011, quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, left, penned an item in Time maganize about the player he drafted in 2011, quarterback Colin Kaepernick. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

What do Donald Trump, Vladamir Putin, Steve Bannon and Colin Kaepernick have in common? They all landed on Time magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in the world.

The former 49ers quarterback was the subject of a Time cover last year after his national anthem protests, which spotlighted police brutality and other issues of racial inequality, created a firestorm of controversy from coast to coast.

Kaepernick became a free agent in March and has yet to find a suitor. That’s led to accusations by some around the league that he is being blackballed by NFL teams. The 49ers signed Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley in free agency and likely will draft at least one quarterback next week. Barkley is wearing Kaepernick’s former No. 7 jersey this year.

In the magazine, the item on Kaepernick is penned by the coach who drafted him in 2011. Jim Harbaugh, now Michigan’s head coach, commends Kaepernick for having “boldly and courageously confronted perceived inequalities in our social-justice system.”

Kaepernick has pledged to donate more than $1 million toward causes that fight social injustice. He is halfway toward his goal.

“I thank Colin for all he has contributed to the game of football as an outstanding player and trusted teammate,” Harbaugh writes. “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.”

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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