Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party's 2016 presidential candidate, has spoken out in defense of the right of NFL players not to stand during the national anthem.
Clinton made the remarks during an Oct. 9 appearance at the University of California, Davis, according to the New York Daily News.
"Let's be clear, those players aren't protesting the national anthem or the flag," said Clinton. "They're protesting racism and injustice, and they have every right to do so!"
She also indicated that there is a lot to protest for in the U.S.
"There is a concerted effort to turn back the clock on civil rights and women's rights and gay rights and religious rights," she added. "And we cannot let that happen."
Clinton's stance on the NFL protests, which have involved many players taking a knee or sitting down during the Star Spangled Banner, puts her at odds with President Donald Trump.
Trump has repeatedly criticized NFL players in recent weeks, and in September he urged NFL owners to fire players who fail to stand during the anthem.
He continued to tweet about the issue on Oct. 9 prior to Clinton's speech.
"A big salute to Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys who will bench players who disrespect our Flag.'Stand for Anthem or sit for game!'" Trump tweeted.
A day earlier on Oct. 8, Vice President Mike Pence walked out of an NFL game after several players took a knee during the anthem, according to Reuters.
Trump suggested on Oct. 10 that he could take action to penalize the league.
"Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country? Change tax law!" he wrote on Twitter.
However, the NFL relinquished its tax-free status two years ago, Reuters notes.
NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart hinted on Oct. 10 that team owners may move toward imposing regulations on the behavior of players during the anthem. He noted the protests would be discussed at the NFL's fall meeting to be held on Oct. 17 and 18.
"Everyone at this point is frustrated by the situation," added Lockhart. "The commissioner and the owners do want the players to stand. We think it is an important part of the game."
League policy calls for players to stand for the anthem and face the flag. However, no disciplinary action has yet been taken against any of those who have protested.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declared on Oct. 10 that she would welcome the league moving to institute new rules to stop the protests.
Sources: New York Daily News, Reuters / Featured Image: Lorie Shaull/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Keith Allison/Flickr, Gage Skidmore/Flickr