Al Thompson
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh give passionate response to questions regarding fans reaction to the idea of Colin Kaepernick coming to Baltimore. Photo by Al Thompson

OWINGS MILLS: As Ravens head coach John Harbaugh left the podium after Thursday’s post training camp practice press conference, a reporter who apparently knew Harbaugh well enough to make the remark, told the coach he had just sounded like Arizona Senator John McCain.

Harbaugh smiled back and said “really? Wow” then paused for a second, looked down then looked back at the reporter and said “I hope he’s with us for a while.”

Harbaugh had just delivered a passionate response to questions about Ravens fans reaction to the possibility that Baltimore might sign embattled quarterback Colin Kaepernick to fill the void at the position since starter Joe Flacco injured his back over a week ago and is still on day-to-day basis at best.

The fan reaction was overwhelmingly negative towards the Ravens signing the former San Francisco 49ers signal caller who made headlines all over America last season when he decided to take a knee during the national anthem before every game in protest of his anger towards “a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

The protest sparked controversy in every corner of American society.

Several NFL players joined him. Many believe his protest led to declining television ratings at the start of the season.

Kaepernick opted out of his contract at the end of the season. He remains unsigned despite throwing 16 touchdown passes, just four interceptions and a quarterback rating of 90.7.

Kaepernick’s situation remains a hot topic all over the sports world and became centered on the Ravens when owner Steve Bisciotti, Harbaugh, plus Flacco and General Manager Ozzie Newsome all said they were open to bringing in Kaepernick.

Why the McCain comparison?

On July 25, 2017, less than two weeks after brain surgery, McCain returned to the Senate and delivered a passionate speech criticizing the party-line voting process used by the Republicans, as well as by the Democrats in passing Obamacare back in 2009 and how it has continued to the present.

McCain also urged a “return to regular order” utilizing the usual committee hearings and deliberations. On July 28, he cast the decisive vote against the Republicans’ final health care proposal, the so-called “skinny repeal” option, which failed 49–51. Many believe McCain’s speech may be a turning point on government elected officials finally working together again.

When Harbaugh was asked if there was any movement at the quarterback position, he gave a one sentence replay.

“There is nothing new to talk about,” he said. “Really, for any personnel move right now.”

On the followup Harbaugh was asked if he was surprised, when the story broke about Ravens fans negative reaction to the possibility of signing Kaepernick, and about the passion the fans have right now about their opinions about this, he went of McCain-style.

“I’m not surprised by the passion our fans have – no way,” Harbaugh said. “Our fans are great and amazing. That’s the type of people who are football fans. They’re passionate and they believe in what they believe in. Everyone has different beliefs, and I have my beliefs, too. I’m passionate about them, too, just like you are. I want our fans to feel that way. I want our fans to feel like they can call, write, do whatever they want. Hopefully, they’ll call and write just as much when they’re happy, too. There’s a broad spectrum of opinions on everything, and that’s what America is all about. It’s what makes our country great.”

Harbaugh was asked if he was disappointed by fans’ reaction in the report that hit the day before.

“No, I celebrate … I don’t know what ‘report’ … I didn’t read any ‘report’ that you’re talking about,” he said. “But, I would say, everybody should express their opinion, respectfully, and say what they think. Hopefully, we can get some consensus and decisions. OK, you want me to get on my political soapbox? Congress: get something done. Work together. You know? We need things done. You can stand way over there, and you can stand way over there, and nothing gets done. Here we are, all of us in the middle, and nothing is getting accomplished. To me, that’s true for everything. It’s most true at the highest levels of decision-making. Whatever goes, football-wise, as far as the relationship there, we’ll try to do what’s best for our players, coaches, fans and football team, in every decision we make and be our best. You make decisions based on what’s best for everyone that’s involved as best you can with what’s the right thing to do. As Forrest Gump would say: ‘That’s all I’ve got to say about that.’”

His finish got a good laugh from the assembled media.

Maybe America should pump the brakes and start listening to why people are expressing themselves, rather than reacting to how they are expressing themselves. *

Some McCain info taken from wikipedia.org.

Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii

4 Aug 17 - Football, NFL, Ravens - Al Thompson - No Comments

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