WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Jim Harbaugh has been a firm supporter of Colin Kaepernick — his former quarterback — for some time now.
And when it comes to a player's right to express himself, Michigan's head coach supports that, too.
Asked Saturday night after a 28-10 win over Purdue if he agrees with President Donald Trump's suggestion that NFL owners "fire" any player seen protesting the national anthem, Harbaugh's answer was quick:
"No, I don't agree with the president," Harbaugh said. "That's ridiculous.
"Check the Constitution."
On Friday, at a rally in Huntsville, Ala., Trump said he believes NFL owners should "fire" any players who are seen protesting the national anthem before games.
"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now'? Out. He's fired. He's fired!'" Trump said.
Earlier in the day, several Detroit Lions and other NFL players expressed their displeasure with Trump's comments via social media.
The Lions did not immediately respond to the Free Press' request for a comment, but NFL commissioner Roger Goodell did release a statement earlier Saturday.
"The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture," the statement read in part. "Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities."
Harbaugh coached Kaepernick during his stint as San Francisco 49ers coach in 2011-14. Together, they reached Super Bowl XLVII in 2013.
Kaepernick has been scrutinized since last season, when he decided to kneel or sit during each game's national anthem in protest of social injustices in America.
Kaepernick, who drew support from several players around the NFL for taking the stance, opted out of his contract with the 49ers in the off-season and remains a free agent.