Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has been reading and watching the news a lot these days to stay informed about the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the death of George Floyd on Monday, after Minneapolis police offer Derek Chauvin pinned a handcuffed Floyd to the pavement, has dominated his thoughts. Police were called by market employees who said Floyd passed a counterfeit bill. Four Minneapolis offers have since been fired.
Harbaugh, appearing Thursday on “The Rich Eisen Show,” was asked what he’s been reading in relation to the coronavirus pandemic that shut down all campus activity at Michigan in mid-March. He said he has been more focused on Floyd.
“Today I’ll tell you what, I’m really very upset about the George Floyd death,” Harbaugh said. “That’s got me preoccupied today. Horrendous. I’m just watching right now and looking forward to there being an investigation and waiting for charges. That’s completely outrageous.”
Violent protests in Minneapolis broke out Wednesday night into Thursday morning.
A meme featuring former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling on the football field to one side of a photo of Chauvin with his knee on Floyd's neck with the words “This is why” began circulating Wednesday on social media. Kaepernick, who played for Harbaugh when he was 49ers coach, kneeled during the national anthem in 2016 to raise awareness to social justice issues in this country. He has since been the face of the activist movement among athletes.
Harbaugh told Eisen he and Kaepernick speak or text every few weeks.
“There was a graphic I saw that too -- this is why he knelt,” Harbaugh said. “If you didn’t know then, you know now. That spoke volumes I thought.”