Goodell on Kaepernick protest: 'We believe very strongly in patriotism in the NFL'
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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday he supports Colin Kaepernick's efforts to improve society, noting, however, that "we believe very strongly in patriotism in the NFL."

“I support our players when they want to see change in society, and we don’t live in a perfect society,” he told The Associated Press in New York.

“We have to choose respectful ways of doing that so we can achieve the outcomes we ultimately want and do it with the values and ideals that make our country great.”

“On the other hand, we believe very strongly in patriotism in the NFL.  I personally believe very strongly in that.”

Kaepernick sparked national debate late last month by sitting during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The San Francisco 49ers quarterback insists his actions are a demonstration against police brutality of minorities. 

Kaepernick in late August defended his decision as a stand against racial injustice nationwide.

“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 said.

“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 away with murder.”

Kaepernick last week knelt during a second game, adding to the chorus of reactions from critics and defenders. 

Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want to use 'adversary' to describe Russia Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterms Roby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism MORE said last week, for example, that he should leave America.

“I think it’s a terrible thing, and you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him,” the GOP presidential nominee said.

“Let him try,” Trump added. "It’s not going to happen.”

President Obama, meanwhile, on Monday defended Kaepernick’s actions.

“My understanding, at least, is he’s exercising his constitutional right to make a statement,” Obama said during a news conference in Hangzhou, China after the G-20 conference. "I think there’s a long history of sports figures doing so.”

Kaepernick said last week that he will likely repeat his protest during the 49ers first regular season game this Monday.

He also promised to donate at least $1 million to charitable organizations helping minority communities.