President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaJulián Castro: 'Everybody knows that the President acts like a white supremacist' Ex-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joins ABC News as contributor Daily Mail: Ex-British ambassador said Trump left Iran deal to spite Obama MORE defended San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has refused to stand during the national anthem. 

ADVERTISEMENT

“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,” Obama said Monday during a news conference in Hangzhou, China, following the end of the G-20 summit there. 

Kaepernick recently created a firestorm when he said he was not going to “stand up and show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” 

Republican nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Camerota clashes with Trump's immigration head over president's tweet LA Times editorial board labels Trump 'Bigot-in-Chief' Trump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates MORE said “maybe he should find a country that works better for him.” 

A police union also threatened to stop staffing the 49ers football games if the team doesn’t take action against Kaepernick. 

“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 that fought for us – that is a tough thing for them to get past, to then hear what his deeper concerns are,” Obama added.

“But I don’t doubt his sincerity. I think he cares about some real, legitimate issues that need to be talked about and, if nothing else, what he’s done is generated more conversation about some topics that need to be talked about.”