Video: Pete Buttigieg Defends Colin Kaepernick, NFL Players' Right to Kneel

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 23, 2019

FILE - In this Oct. 2, 2016 file photo, from left, San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold, quarterback Colin Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara, Calif. In recent months, Colin Kaepernick has become comfortable with people knowing him as more than a laser-focused football player as he always previously preferred it. Perhaps, through the anthem protest and his emergence as an outspoken activist for minorities, Kaepernick has improved his image in the process. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has spoken out in favor of NFL players' right to kneel during the national anthem prior to games. 

Speaking to TMZ Sports, Buttigieg explained part of his military service was to ensure people had the "right of peaceful protest." Buttigieg's answer came after he was asked about President Donald Trump's past comments about Colin Kaepernick and other players who have exercised their right to free speech:

Trump has been outspoken in his criticism of NFL players who protest during the national anthem. During a 2017 rally in Alabama, the president told the crowd in attendance that owners should respond to anyone who protests by telling them to "get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he's fired."

The NFL responded by briefly adopting a policy that would have required players and team personnel on the sidelines to stand for the national anthem, and those who didn't want to stand would be allowed to stay in the locker room. 

The league and NFL Players Association announced last July those rules wouldn't be enforced as the two sides continued to discuss potential solutions for the situation that would be amenable to both parties. 

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