Ted Cruz: Colin Kaepernick & Barack Obama Are BOTH Disrespectful!

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As you've probably heard by now, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem during a recent preseason NFL game.

Colin Kaepernick Greets Fans

The action - which Kaepernick meant as a protest against recent police violence directed at people of color - was commended by some and harshly criticized by others.

Days after articulating his views during a press conference, Kaepernick doubled down on his stance by kneeling during the anthem and announcing plans to donate $1 million to charities that assist communities in need.

While visiting China for a G20 summit this week, President Obama addressed the controversy when asked about Kaepernick by reporters:

Several public figures have spoken out against Obama's comments, many of them going so far as to accuse the president of disrespecting the nation's flag and military veterans.

Not surprisingly, outspoken Texas senator Ted Cruz is among those who found fault with Obama's comments.

TMZ caught up with Cruz recently and asked the former presidential hopeful about his own views regarding the Kaepernick controversy.

Cruz had this to say:

"It's sad when you see rich, spoiled athletes that don't recognize when incredible blessing this country is," Cruz said.

"It's very easy when you're sitting there rolling in millions of dollars to disrespect this country."

Cruz went on to get personal - and angry

"I come from it from a different perspective," Cruz told TMZ.

"My father was imprisoned and tortured in Cuba, and America meant what it's meant for millions from across the globe. It's meant opportunity; it's meant freedom."

He added:

"And I gotta say, I was disappointed to see President Obama stand with Kaepernick and say, 'That's right, disrespect the flag.'

Ted Cruz at the RNC

"The president should be standing up for America. The president should be encouraging every America to honor the flag that so many have bled and died for, and to honor the freedom that it stands for."

Needless to say, it doesn't look like this controversy will be going away anytime soon.

Several NFL players have joined in Kaepernick's protest, and his stance is now impacting athletes in other sports.

US soccer player Megan Rapinoe kneeled for the anthem prior to a recent game.

With the NFL season officially kicking off Thursday night, this divisive issue is sure to draw even more attention in the weeks to come.

Kaepernick says it was his intention to help spark a national conversation about race and police violence.

There's no denying that the quarterback has succeeded in that.

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