Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine (D., Va.) said Thursday that "you've got to respect" San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's decision to sit down during the national anthem as a sign of protest of America's treatment of minorities, adding he would do it differently if it were him.
At Thursday night's game against the San Diego Chargers, which will feature a Salute to the Military event, Kaepernick is expected to sit again during the national anthem. Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos asked Kaine about it during the latter's run of media appearances Thursday morning.
"You're the father of a Marine. What's your reaction to Colin Kaepernick?" Stephanopoulos asked.
"You know, you've got to respect people's ability to act according to their conscience," Kaine said. "I mean, I'd do it differently. I think if you really thought about issues and this country, you'd do it differently, and when I heard him explain his rationale, didn't really make that much sense to me. But you've got to respect people's ability to act according to their conscience, so I wouldn't presume to tell him what to do."
Kaepernick, a starter-turned-backup for the San Francisco 49ers, set off a firestorm last month when he refused to stand for the playing of the national anthem before NFL preseason games.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media. "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."