Colin Kaepernick’s protest started as a single man on an island, but it is getting more and more exposure as each day passes. On Monday, President Barack Obama addressed the protest in what I believe was a press conference. The original question is not included, but there is video of President Obama speaking to Kaepernick’s protest. I’ve also transcribed it below.
My understanding at least is that 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 flag and the National Anthem and the meaning that 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 haven’t been paying close attention to it, but you’ve heard me talk about in the past, the need for us to have an active citizenry. Sometimes that’s messy and controversial, and it gets people angry and frustrated. But, I’d rather have young people who are engaged in the argument and trying to think through how they can be part of our democratic process, than people who are just sitting on the sidelines and not paying attention at all. My suspicion is that over time he’s going to refine how he’s thinking about it, and maybe some of his critics will start seeing that he has a point around certain concerns about justice and equality.