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The uproar over Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful protest of police brutality has gone on long enough that the White House has now weighed in for a second time. Last week, press secretary Josh Earnest issued a statement that the White House “acknowledge[s] and even defend[s] his right to express those views.” Earlier today, while attending the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China, President Obama was asked about the issue directly.


His reply made it clear both that he’s a little busy right now but also that he believes the 49ers quarterback is “exercising his constitutional right to make a statement.”

The president acknowledged that it may be difficult for police or those serving in the armed forces to look past affronts to the flag or anthem in conversations about the issues Kaepernick is raising. Still, “If nothing else, what he’s done is he’s generated more conversation around some topics that need to be talked about,” said a man with an overly optimistic understanding of how viral debates tend to go.