Gregg Popovich on Kaepernick: "He cared about his country enough to fix some things that were obvious, that everybody knows about but does nothing about."
USA Basketball head coach Gregg Popovich says former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick did a "very patriotic thing" by basically sacrificing his career to shed light on racial inequality.
Kaepernick began kneeling before the playing of the national anthem in preseason games during the 2016 season. He continued the protest throughout the regular season, and hasn't appeared in an NFL game since.
"Patriotism means a lot of things to different people," Popovich said, according to ESPN.com. "There's people who are truly committed in that sense and people who are fake. The show of patriotism I think is a bit inappropriate and that is not something that I think we want to emulate. Because someone hugs a flag doesn't mean they're patriotic. Being a patriot is somebody that respects their country and understands that the best thing about our country is that we have the ability to fix things that have not come to fruition for a lot of people so far."
Kaepernick filed a grievance and sued the NFL in 2017 saying that the league's owners colluded to keep him out of the league. The lawsuit was eventually settled in February.
"To negate that part of what we're able to do is ignorant on anybody's part who tries to make those people look unpatriotic," Popovich said. "Like a Kaepernick. That was a very patriotic thing he did. He cared about his country enough to fix some things that were obvious, that everybody knows about but does nothing about."