During a press conference in Hangzhou, China following the G20 Summit, President Barack Obama was asked to weigh on in the controversy over San Francisco 49ers second-string quarterback Colin Kaepernick‘s decision to sit during the national anthem to protest police violence against African-Americans.

Obama was careful to caution that he hadn’t been following the story closely and wasn’t up to date on all the facts. “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,” he said.

The president came close to criticizing Kaepernick’s method of protest. “I think there are 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 that 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,” Obama said.

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