San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been protesting the National Anthem since an August 27 preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. While he's attracted lots of criticism from fellow football players, including Jerry Rice and Drew Brees, the 28-year-old can now count two prominent voices among his supporters: President Obama and United States women's national soccer team star Megan Rapinoe.
CBS News is reporting that Rapinoe knelt while the National Anthem played before a September 4 game against the Chicago Red Stars. Afterward, the midfielder confirmed to American Soccer Now that she kneeled in solidarity with Kaepernick.
"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. "It was something small that I could do and something that I plan to keep doing in the future and hopefully spark some meaningful conversation around it. It’s important to have white people stand in support of people of color on this. We don’t need to be the leading voice, of course, but standing in support of them is something that’s really powerful.”
Similarly, on Monday, President Obama defended Kaepernick against critics, some of whom have argued that protesting the National Anthem is disrespectful to members of the military. When asked about the protest during the G20 Summit in China, Obama said Kaepernick has every right to protest.
"He’s exercising his constitutional right to make a statement,” the POTUS said, according to NBC Sports. Obama also said that Kaepernick's protest will hopefully show some critics that there are issues of "justice and equality" in America.
Lastly, Obama praised Kaepernick's "active citizenry" and said that he'd “rather have young people who are engaged in the argument than people who are just sitting on the sidelines and not paying attention at all.”
While this support may not do much to help Kaepernick's cause, it does show that prominent people understand the very important message he's sending.
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