1. ITV Report

Women's football star Megan Rapinoe kneels during US anthem in support of Colin Kaepernick

Megan Rapinoe Credit: PA

American women's football star Megan Rapinoe has knelt during the US national anthem in support of Colin Kaepernick - the NFL quarterback who sparked controversy by protesting against racial injustice and police brutality.

Rapinoe, who plays for MLS side Seattle Reign FC, said she decided to kneel during the Star Spangled Banner as "a little nod to Kaepernick and everything that he's standing for right now."

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Kaepernick hit the headlines after refusing to stand during the national anthem last week, with many Americans seeing his racial protest as a sign of disrespecting the flag.

The 28-year-old knelt for the second time during his team's game against Green Bay Packers last Thursday and was joined by team-mate Eric Reid.

Colin Kaepernick spoke to the media last Friday Credit: PA

Rapinoe believes her "small" gesture was intended to "spark some meaningful conversation".

She added: "I think it's actually pretty disgusting the way he was treated and the way that a lot of the media has covered it and made it about something that it absolutely isn't.

"Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties."

Barack Obama said he doesn't doubt Colin Kaepernick's sincerity Credit: Pool

Speaking at the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, on Monday, US President Barack Obama said Colin Kaepernick has "legitimate issues that have to be talked about."

He's exercising his constitutional right to make a statement. I think there's a long history of sports figures doing so.

As a general matter, when it comes to the flag and national anthem and the meaning that holds for our men and women in uniform and those who fought for us, that is a tough thing for them to get past.

I don't doubt his sincerity. I think he cares about some real, legitimate issues that have to be talked about and if nothing else, what he's done is generate more conversation around some topics that need to be talked about.

You've heard me talk about - in the past - the need for us to have an act of citizenry.

Sometimes that's messy and controversial and it gets people angry and frustrated, but I'd rather have young people who are engaged in the argument and trying to think through how they can be part of our democratic process than people who are sitting on the sidelines.

My suspicion is that over time he's going to refine how he's thinking about it. Maybe some of his critics start seeing that he has a point around certain concerns about justice and equality.

That's how we move forward. Sometimes it's messy, but that's they way democracy works.

– Barack Obama