SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick is making international headlines on Monday. President Obama answered questions about his national anthem protest while in front of several world leaders.
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"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," Obama said.
When asked about the NFL quarterback during the G-20 Summit in China, an international gathering of leaders from 20 of the world's major economies.
Kaepernick has refused to stand for "The Star-Spangled Banner" before two 49ers pre-season games.
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"I think he cares about some real, legitimate issues that have to be talked about and, if nothing else, what he's doing is he's generated more conversation," Obama said.
Kaepernick says he's protesting police violence against African Americans. His protests have spurred outrage from some, especially many veterans groups.
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"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," Obama said.
But Kaepernick has gotten support from others -- a handful of NFL players but also other sports stars.
Most recently, Seattle pro soccer player Megan Rapinoe took a knee during the national anthem Sunday in their match against Chicago.
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President Obama defends Colin Kaepernick's national anthem protest