President Obama has addressed NFL player Colin Kaepernick‘s decision to not stand during the National Anthem before pre-season games.
The 55-year-old Commander-in-Chief said the San Francisco 49ers quarterback is “exercising his constitutional right.”
“I gotta confess that I haven’t been thinking about football while I’ve been over here and I haven’t been follow this closely,” Obama said (via CNN) at the G20 Summit in China. “But my understanding, at least, is that is he’s exercising his constitutional right to make a statement. I think there’s a long history of sports figures doing so.”
Obama continued, “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. I think he cares about some real, legitimate issues that need to be talked about and if nothing else what he’s doing has generated more conversation around some topics that need to be talked about.”