Obama: Colin Kaepernick ‘Exercising His Constitutional Right’

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President Barack Obama told the media San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is exercising his constitutional right by not standing for the national anthem. (Getty)

Asked about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick‘s decision to sit through the national anthem, President Barack Obama told the media the 28-year-old football player is “exercising his constitutional right to make a statement.”

Kaepernick made headlines Aug. 27 when he refused to stand during the Star-Spangled Banner prior to a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. Kaepernick told NFL.com he is “not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

Obama made his remarks during a press conference in Hangzhou, China, where he’s attending a G20 economic summit.

Watch Obama make his comments here:

“There’s a long history of sports figures doing so,” Obama “There’s 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 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. If nothing else, he’s generated more conversation around topics that need to be talked about.”