President Obama defended NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision not to stand during the playing of the National Anthem calling the controversial move “sincere.”
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“As a general matter, when it comes to the flag, and the National Anthem and the meaning that that holds for our men and women in uniform and those that fought for us – that is a tough thing for them to get past, to then hear what his deeper concerns are,” Obama said.
“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 done is generated more conversation about some topics that need to be talked about.”
The president, speaking at the G20 economic summit in China, said Kaepernick had a “constitutional right” to protest.
It’s not surprising that a president who routinely criticizes America would side with Kaepernick’s disgraceful behavior.
Just because Kaepernick has a right to disrespect our military and our flag does not mean he should – and that’s what the president should’ve said.
Following is the full text of President Obama’s remarks:
And in terms of Mr. Kaepernick, I got to 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, is that he’s exercising his constitutional right to make a statement. I think there’s a long history of sports figures doing so. I think there are a lot of ways you can do it. As a general matter, when it comes to the flag and the National Anthem, and the meaning that that holds for our men and women in uniform and those who 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, based on what I’ve heard. I think he cares about some real, legitimate issues that have to be talked about. And if nothing else, what he’s done is he’s generated more conversation around some topics that need to be talked about.
So, again, I haven’t been paying close attention to it, but you’ve heard me talk about in the past the need for us to have an active citizenry. Sometimes that’s messy and controversial, and it gets people angry and frustrated. But I’d rather have young people who are engaged in the argument and trying to think through how they can be part of our democratic process than people who are just sitting on the sidelines and not paying attention at all.
And my suspicion is, is that over time he’s going to refine how he’s thinking about it, and maybe some of his critics will start seeing that he has a point around certain concerns about justice and equality. And that’s how we move forward. Sometimes it’s messy, but it’s the way democracy works.