Obama on Kaepernick: 'Tough Thing' for Service Members

But president says he supports NFL player's 'active citizenry'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2016 10:35 AM CDT
Obama on Kaepernick: Speaking Up 'Constitutional Right'
President Obama on Colin Kaepernick: "I don't doubt his sincerity."   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Newser) – Everyone is weighing in on the Colin Kaepernick controversy, from the cops who say they may stop providing security at 49ers games to the female soccer player who took a knee in support of Kaepernick at her own game Sunday. Now a more high-profile defender is speaking up: President Obama, who says the football player was "following his constitutional right to make a statement," the New York Post reports. Speaking from a press conference in China, where he's attending the G20 summit, Obama touched on the concept of "active citizenry" and lauded Kaepernick—who has been refusing to stand for the national anthem at NFL games to protest racial inequities in America—for his stand, though he says he's been busy and not really following the entire hubbub that closely.

Acknowledging that Kaepernick's perspective is "a tough thing … to get past" for service members who've fought for liberty and justice for all—and that there are many ways to express one's POV on the matter—Obama said, "I don't doubt his sincerity" and that "I think he cares about some real, legitimate issues that have to be talked about," per NBC Sports. He added there's "a long history of sports figures" who've used their positions to make similar statements and that, at the very least, "he’s generated more conversation around some topics that need to be talked about," rather than being a young person "just sitting on the sidelines and not paying attention at all." (John Legend says the national anthem is "weak" anyway.)

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