Mayor Pete Buttigieg defended National Football League players, including American football star Colin Kaepernick, for kneeling in protest during the national anthem before the start of every football match.
It was reported in the past that Kaepernick was the one who started the “take a knee” national anthem to protest against police brutality back in 2016.
Buttigieg told TMZ Sports that he supports the quarterback's right to "take a knee" during the national anthem — and he's criticizing President Trump for going after the protesting players.
However, the 2020 presidential candidate did not particularly endorse the messages that Kaepernick and the other NFL players are protesting about. In an interview with TMZ Sports, the presidential hopeful implied that he was just defending the right and freedom of the players to peacefully protest on the field before games.
"The way I feel about it is the flag that was on my shoulder when I served represented, among other things, our right to free speech," Buttigieg said during his interview with TMZ Sports.
He also added, "You don't have to like it, but one of the reasons we served was to defend that right, the right of peaceful protest and the idea that we can protest what is wrong with our country."
Buttigieg also spared some statements for President Donald Trump, who has been publicly critical of the NFL players' "take a knee" protest.
"If the president had served, maybe he'd feel a little more strongly about some of those freedoms. And I get that there's a lot of strong opinions about this, but that's part of why we served." Buttigieg said.
The South Bend mayor also criticized the president's avoidance of the draft during interviews. Buttigieg accused Trump of using his wealth and influence to acquire a moratorium claiming disability, bone spurs, that the 2020 presidential candidate claims were falsified to exempt the president from serving.
"This is somebody who, I think it's fairly obvious to most of us, took advantage of the fact that he was the child of a multimillionaire in order to pretend to be disabled so that somebody could go to war in his place," Buttigieg told NBC News and MSNBC political analyst Robert Costa in an interview on Friday.