News & Politics

Obama Defends Kaepernick's National Anthem Protest

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick answers questions at a news conference after an NFL preseason football game against the Green Bay Packers Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. Green Bay won the game 21-10. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Well, what else would you expect? President Obama has visited with Black Lives Matter protesters who have enabled people who have murdered police.

But the way he defended Kaepernick was typical: he made it a Kaepernick vs. the military argument, which totally misses the point.

New York Post:

“[H]e’s following his constitutional right to make a statement,” Obama said at a press conference in Hangzhou, China, responding to a question about the quarterback. “I think there’s a long history of sports figures doing so.”

The president added, “I don’t doubt his sincerity. I think he cares about some real, legitimate issues that have to be talked about. And if nothing else, he’s generated some conversation around some topics that need to be talked about it.”

Kaepernick has refused to stand for the pre-game playing of the national anthem, citing racial injustice and the oppression of minorities in America.

At Monday’s press conference, Obama reiterated his call for an “active citizenry” and praised the 28-year-old professional athlete for speaking out: “I would rather have young people who are engaged in the argument and trying to think through how they can be part of our democratic process than people who are just sitting on the sidelines and not paying attention at all.”

Obama didn’t encourage standing for the playing of the national anthem, but signaled that others might not respect Kaepernick’s move.

“I think there’s a lot of ways you can do it. As a general matter when it comes to the flag and the national anthem and the meaning that it holds for our men and women in uniform and those who fought for us, that is a tough thing for them to get past, to then hear what his deeper concerns are,” he said.

But the president said: “Maybe some of his critics will start seeing he has a point around certain concerns around justice and equality.”

What point? That blacks are so badly “oppressed” in America that disrespecting the flag and what it stands for is justifiable? That every police officer who shoots an unarmed black man should go to jail regardless of the circumstances?

Kaepernick’s moronic protest is matched only by Obama’s idiotic defense of it.

Hot Air:

“At least he’s engaged” has to be the single most vacuous thing you can say about any political activist. By that logic, Obama should prefer Trump’s friends in the alt-right to the average twentysomething who’s worried more about finding a promising job than politics. They’re “engaged in the argument” too.

What about Obama’s own opinion, though? There’s no safe answer, which is why he resorts to banalities. If he says he agrees with the protest, he’s lining up with a guy who wears clothing that equates cops with pigs. If he hits Kaepernick hard for choosing an unusually stupid way to make his point, he’ll annoy Kaepernick’s sympathizers on the left. He would have been smarter to have echoed Peter Beinart’s criticism, which is that protesters are always better off adopting symbols of America in the name of their cause than they are turning their back on them. By spurning the anthem, Kaepernick’s doing more harm than good for Black Lives Matter by reinforcing the perception that it’s anti-American. Oh well. Obama will finally be free to tell us what he really thinks next year when he’s out of office, assuming Kaepernick’s still in the league by then.

Of course Kaepernick has a “right to protest” — just as the rest of us have the right to call him out for his idiocy. I’m sure the president is having a hard time figuring out why so many have risen up in opposition to Kaepernick’s gesture.

Doesn’t everyone think that police are murderers and that blacks are “oppressed”?