President Obama is weighing in on Colin Kaepernick’s protest of the national anthem.
Speaking at the annual G20 conference in China on Monday, the President admitted that he hadn’t been following football or the situation closely, but was adamant about his support of Kaepernick’s decision to protest. “I gotta confess that I haven’t been thinking about football while I’ve been over here and I haven’t been following this closely. But my understanding, at least, is that is he’s exercising his constitutional right to make a statement.”
President Obama later added that while it may be tough for some to see the athlete protesting the national anthem, he did not doubt Kaepernick’s sincerity.
“As a general matter, when it comes to the flag the national anthem and the meaning that holds for our men and women in uniform and those who’ve fought for us — that is a tough thing for them to get past to then hear what his deeper concerns are, but I don’t doubt his sincerity,” he said.
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“I think he cares about some real, legitimate issues that need to be talked about.”
He went on to emphasize the importance of young people who are interested in getting involved. “I’d rather have young people who are engaged in the argument and trying to think through how they can be a part of our democratic process than people who are just sitting on the sidelines and not paying attention at all.”
Kaepernick has been protesting the national anthem for the last few weeks in response to racial injustice, police brutality, and the numerous murders of unarmed black men and women at the hands of police.
“He’s following his constitutional right to make a statement. I think there’s a long history of sports figures doing so,” Obama said.
“Maybe some of his critics will start seeing he has a point around certain concerns around justice and equality.”