President Obama says 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is the latest in a long line of professional athletes who have exercised their constitutional right to make a statement about social issues.
The president was asked at a news conference in China Monday about Kaepernick's gesture -- refusing to stand for the national anthem to protest police violence and racial discrimination.
Obama said he has no doubt that Kaepernick is sincere and "cares about some real, legitimate issues."
Kaepernick has been heavily criticized since starting his silent protest. Obama says he hasn't paid close attention to the matter. But he adds approvingly that Kaepernick has generated more national conversation about "issues that need to be talked about."