The White House today called NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest of “The Star-Spangled Banner” “objectionable,” but defended his constitutional right to demonstrate.
Prior to San Francisco’s Friday night preseason loss to the Green Bay Packers, the 49ers’ player remained seated between two Gatorade coolers while the national anthem was played through Levi’s Stadium. He later explained that he did so to protest the oppression of people of color in the United States.
Asked for President Obama’s reaction to Kaepernick’s actions, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest today signaled his personal disagreement, but indicated he hadn’t quizzed the president on the subject.
“What I can say is that I certainly don’t share the views that Mr. Kaepernick expressed after the game in explaining his reasoning for his actions,” Earnest, the White House’s top spokesman, said.
Earnest said he’s “confident” Obama, an avid sports fan, is aware of the episode, but that he hadn’t spoken to the president about it.
“We surely acknowledge and even defend his right to express those views,” he continued. “Even as objectionable as we find his perspective, he certainly is entitled to express them.”
Despite widespread criticism, Kaepernick insists he will continue refusing to stand during the national anthem.
“I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me this is something that has to change,” Kaepernick explained. “When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”
Meanwhile, Philadelphia Eagles rookie linebacker Myke Tavarres told ESPN that he will sit during the anthem ceremony Thursday night in a preseason home game against the New York Jets.
SOURCE: JOHN PARKINSON and BENJAMIN SIEGEL