Protests at the Eastern Michigan game last night reverberated throughout the state of Michigan. This week, racist graffiti was found on the campus of Eastern Michigan. The town of Ypsilanti, home to EMU, is a 10-minute drive from Ann Arbor.
Before Michigan’s game before Penn State, multiple Wolverines players raised fists during the national anthem.
Earlier in East Lansing, Michigan State players joined in solidarity.
After the game and to his credit, coach Mark Dantonio supported his players asserting their right to protest.
Dantonio has no problem with 3 players who raised fist during anthem: "This is America. And that's what the flag stands for."— Chris Solari (@chrissolari) September 24, 2016
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh supported his players as well.
"I’ve been thinking a lot about this over the last four, five, six weeks," he said. "I mean, because I’m a football coach doesn’t mean I can dictate to people what they believe."
Harbaugh came under fire for his response in late August to recent protests by Colin Kaepernick.
Jim Harbaugh on Colin Kaepernick: "I acknowledge his right to do it. But I don't respect the motivation or the action."— Kyle Rowland (@KyleRowland) August 29, 2016
After that initial criticism, Harbaugh walked the comments back.
I apologize for misspeaking my true sentiments. To clarify, I support Colin's motivation. It's his method of action that I take exception to— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) August 29, 2016
At least publicly, it’s clear from the video above that Harbaugh has come to view protests a bit differently.
Typically, college football players are in the locker room while the national anthem is played. But these players took the opportunity to stand up for something they believe in, and they’re just the most recent in what is a growing list of athletes to do so. They certainly won’t be the last.