President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaLet's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy Mattis dodges toughest question At debate, Warren and Buttigieg tap idealism of Obama, FDR MORE defended San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has refused to stand during the national anthem. 

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“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 TrumpHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Celebrating 'Hispanic Heritage Month' in the Age of Trump Let's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy 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.”