National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial issued the following statement in response to President Trump's criticism of athletes who symbolically protest by kneeling during the National Anthem:
"Rather than disparaging Colin Kaepernick and other athletes in vulgar terms, President Trump should be addressing the systemic racism and police brutality that inspire their protests. Kapernick and others are part of a long American tradition of sports as a force for social change, including Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, and Billie Jean King. Standing up - or kneeling down - for our ideals is the most patriotic of acts. We support the right of all athletes to free speech, and urge the President to pay more attention to the reason for their concerns rather than the manner in which they express them."