Speaking from the G20 summit, President Obama said he believes 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is “exercising his constitutional right” not to stand during the National Anthem at NFL games.
Kaepernick has drawn both ire and admiration for his display days ago in San Diego. Kaepernick has said he’ll continue to sit or kneel during the song until “significant change” is made in the fight against racial inequality.
Speaking to reporters while in China, Obama admitted he has not followed the issue closely, but explained that “I don’t doubt his sincerity, based on what I’ve heard.”
“I think he cares about some real, legitimate issues that have to be talked about,” he said. “If nothing else, what he’s done is he has generated some more conversation around some issues that need to be talked about.”
“My understanding, at least, is he is exercising his constitutional right to make a statement. I think there is a long history of sports figures doing so,” Obama also said.
Kaepernick first made headlines last month when he knelt rather than stood when “The Star-Spangled Banner” was played before a pre-season game against the Green Bay Packers.