The debate over 49ers' quarterback Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the national anthem in protest of racial inequality, now reaching the highest echelons of global power. President Barack Obama was asked about Kaepernick at a meeting of G20 world leaders in China on Monday, where he defended the athlete.
>> He's exercising his constitutional right to make a statement. I think there is a long history of sports figures doing so. I think they are a lot of ways you can do it.>> Kaepernick's protest began last week>> The messages that we have a lot of issues in this country that we need to deal with.
>> And the response was loud and immediate.>> Kaepernick, don't ever disrespect my flag or my country or anybody that's in the service ever again brother.>> He's doing a huge thing by speaking out and that speaking up and by taking a stand and saying something is acknowledging something that is repressived in this country and has been for a long time.
>> Kaepernick's comments accusing police of racial profiling, provoking an angry letter from the Santa Clara Police Union threatening its members will no longer provide security at 49ers games. Quote, If the 49ers organization fails to take action to stop this type of inappropriate workplace behavior, it could result in police officers choosing not to work at your facilities.
Kaepernick's protest is slowly getting support from other professional athletes. At a preseason game Thursday night, Kaepernick's teammate, Eric Reid, knelt beside him. At a separate game that same night, Seahawk's safety, Jeremy Lane, remained sitting on the bench for the anthem. And on Saturday, US women's soccer star, Megan Rapinoe, knelt during the national anthem.
Afterwards saying quote, it's important to have white people stand in solidarity with people of color on this.