Fresno State football coach sounds off on Kaepernick controversy

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Support is growing for Colin Kaepernick on and off the playing field. The NFL quarterback has refused to stand for the national anthem in protest over recent police violence.

President Barack Obama said the 49ers quarterback is simply exercising his constitutional right to make a statement about social issues but others think a football game is not the appropriate place to discuss police brutality.

The controversy over Kaepernick refusing to stand during the national anthem is gaining support from other athletes and world leaders. On Sunday, professional soccer player Megan Rapinoe took a knee during "The Star-Spangled Banner as a nod to the San Francisco quarterback. And on Monday Obama said protest from athletes is nothing new and that he is glad Kaepernick is engaged in the democratic process.

"I don't doubt his sincerity based on what I've heard," Obama said. "I think he cares about some real, legitimate issues that have to be talked about."

Kaepernick's national anthem protest has been discussed in the locker room of the Fresno State's football team. Head coach Tim Deruyter said he had a discussion with his players and offered his point of view.

"We live in a country where people have First Amendment rights to be able to say what they want, cause controversy," Deruyter said. "The First Amendment means nothing if you can't say something controversial."

During home games, the football team is in the locker room at Bulldog Stadium during the national anthem. Deruyter said players are busy getting ready for the game at that time and he disagrees with Kaepernick having a protest at that time. He believes it is only a distraction only at that point.

"You're getting ready to play a football game," he said. "It is not about anyone, any individual, it is not about my causes, it is all about what the team wants to do."
Copyright © 2019 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.