Both the White House and Donald Trump objected Monday to views expressed by NFL star Colin Kaepernick about the treatment of minorities in the US.
The quarterback said over the weekend he would not stand for the traditional playing of the “Star Spangled Banner” ahead of a pre-season game against the Green Bay Packers.
He said afterward he refuses to “show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder,” he told NFL Media.
But while President Barack Obama’s spokesman said Kaepernick was free to sit in protest during the national anthem if he chooses, Trump scoffed the player “should find a country that works better for him.”
The Republican presidential candidate told radio host Dori Monson the anthem protest was a “terrible thing.”
“Let him try,” the Republican presidential candidate told Monson, BuzzFeed first reported, adding the episode was a “terrible thing.”
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, meanwhile, said that while he didn’t agree with Kaepernick’s views on race there was no offense in airing his grievances.
“I certainly don’t share the views that Mr. Kaepernick expressed after the game in explaining his reasoning for his actions. But we surely all acknowledge and even defend his right to express those views in the settings that he chooses,” Earnest said. “That’s what he has done. Even as objectionable as we find his perspective, he certainly is entitled to express them.”
Earnest said he was “confident” that Obama was aware of the issue, but said he hadn’t spoken to the president directly about Kaepernick’s protest.