While in China at the G20 meeting last week Pres. Obama gave a press conference at which he was asked about SF 49’s quarterback, Colin Kaepernick’s, refusal to stand for the National Anthem. Mr Kaepernick was doing so to protest racial injustice.
I felt so impressed by Pres. Obama’s answer that I have transcribed it here. This was between 27:28 min until 30:15. If you want to listen to the whole press conference; the link is below.
“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 is that at least he’s exercising his constitutional right to make a statement. 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 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. 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 hadn’t been paying close attention to it; but you’ve heard me talk about it in the past; a need for us to have an active citizenry. Sometimes that’s messy and controversial. Gets people angry, frustrated. But I’d rather have young people who are engaged in the argument and trying to think thru how they can be part of our democratic process then people who are just sitting on the side lines, not paying attention at all.
My suspicion is that over time he’s going to refine how he’s thinking about it. 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.”
(Note: American flag does not have gold fringe)