Obama defends US football player refusing to stand for national anthem

Colin Kaepernick has right to protest against racial discrimination in US, president said, as other atheletes have been influenced to kneel in solidarity

Barack Obama has defended an American football player who has refused to stand during the national anthem in protest over racial discrimination in the United States, saying it was his constitutional right to raise “legitimate issues”.

Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, started his protest during a pre-season game last month when he chose to kneel rather than stand during the Star-Spangled Banner. The US national anthem is played before every professional sporting fixture in the US, and athletes and fans are expected to stand while it is played.

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