President Obama defends Kaepernick’s right to protest, as a women’s soccer star also kneels in solidarity

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HANGZHOU, China - It seems the controversial Colin Kaepernick national anthem kneel-down-- felt 'round the world-- isn't going away.

Even in China, President Obama spoke out on Kaepernick's continuing protest.

"He's exercising his constitutional right to make a statement," Obama said. "What he's done is he's generated more conversation around some topics that need to be talked about."

And protesting can be contagious, since women's soccer star Megan Rapinoe took a knee on Sunday during the national anthem for a pro soccer match.

After the game, Rapinoe said her protest was "a little nod to Kaepernick and everything that he's standing for right now."

She also took to Twitter, saying "it's the least I can do. Keep the conversation going."

Kaepernick's protest began at a pre-season game last month when the 49ers QB refused to stand during the national anthem.

He later said he was calling attention to police brutality, and that he won't "show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people."

The Santa Clara Police Union is reportedly threatening to boycott 49ers games and refuse to work security at them if the team does not take action against Kaepernick.

So far, the team says it is sticking by the QB's right to freedom of expression.

San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly says that Kaepernick will start the season on the bench, anyway, continuing to backup starting QB Blaine Gabbert.

One thing's for sure...if Kaepernick goes into a game-- he's probably gonna hear it from the fans.

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