Obama Takes A Stand For Kaepernick's Right To Take A Seat - AND YOURS! (VIDEO)

Obama Takes A Stand For Kaepernick’s Right To Take A Seat – AND YOURS! (VIDEO)

President Obama defended NFL star Colin Kaepernick, who has been the subject of plenty of criticism after he refused to stand during the national anthem at a game in August.

Obama stands up for Kaepernick

During a Monday press conference in Hangzhou, China, Obama said that the concerns Kaepernick voiced in the aftermath of his protest are “real” and “legitimate.”

“I think he cares about some real, legitimate issues that need to be talked about,” Obama said. “My understanding at least is 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 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,” the president said.

Kaepernick, a  quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, also refused to stand one other time — during a preseason game. And considering how white people still treat black people in the U.S., I salute Kaepernick for having the guts to sit down for something he believes in.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he told NFL Media in an interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Cue the troglodytes:

Kaepernick also received plenty of complaints from disgruntled Americans who didn’t like his criticisms of Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton for prejudiced remarks both have made during their careers.

Kaepernick noted earlier:

“I mean, you have Hillary who’s called black teens or black kids super predators. You have Donald Trump who’s openly racist. I mean, we have a presidential candidate [Hillary Clinton] who’s deleted emails and done things illegally and is a presidential candidate. That doesn’t make sense to me, because if that was any other person, you’d be in prison.”

Obama isn’t the only person who defends Kaepernick — Megan Rapinoe, who’s a star of the U.S. women’s soccer team stood with him in a gesture of solidarity by kneeling during the national anthem at a match played by her professional team, the Seattle Reign. Rapinoe said she is disgusted by the way the media has treated the star quarterback.

“Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties,” she said.

Related: Bombs, Rockets… And Slaves? The Dark History Of The US National Anthem No One Taught You (VIDEO)

Some knuckle-dragging American football fans have whined that the National Football League should punish Kaepernick, but in a statement, the NFL said that although it encourages players to stand during the anthem, it doesn’t require them to do so.

The NFL star led San Francisco to the Super Bowl in 2013 and he is the latest professional athlete to call attention to the ongoing problem of mistreatment of minority groups by police. In just the past two years a series of police killings of African-Americans in the U.S. have spurred protests and led to the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Obama: Young people need to be a part of the democratic process

Controversy or not, Obama said he prefers to see engaged young people “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.”

At the press conference, Obama said he hadn’t been closely following the controversy, but noted, “If nothing else what he’s done is he’s generated more conversation around some topics that need to be talked about.”

“Sometimes it’s messy, but it’s the way democracy works,” the president said.

Some Twitter users have now taken a derisive attitude to Obama’s comments, with several questioning his patriotism.

What we really need is more and more Kaepernicks out there standing up (or sitting down) for what they (and the rest of us) know is right. So I hope Kaepernick’s gutsiness in the face of criticism has encouraged other people to stand up for themselves and for the rest of us.

Every American should protest an injustice whenever we witness it.

Watch what president Obama has to say in the speech below.

[brid video=”62150″ player=”5260″ title=”President Obama Praises Colin Kaepernick’ National Anthem Protest Sincerity”]

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

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Megan was born and raised in Ventura, California. She has since lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Pacific Northwest, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Mexico, and Costa Rica. While she has always been a liberal, her travels have informed her politics. She has worked for more than 25 years as a professional journalist writing about crime, the police, local politics, feature stories, environmental issues and a variety of other topics. She now writes for Reverb Press.

Megan supports Black Lives Matter and fights against racism, sexism, the corporatocracy, climate change deniers and others who continue to destroy the planet.